Continuities and Discontinuities in Global Development: Lessons from new East/West comparisons

Kenneth Pomeranz

Published: December 2002

Much literature normalises a ‘North Atlantic’ pattern of development, and sees a regionally specific ‘East Asian’ path emerging relatively recently. However, development patterns in core regions of Europe and East Asia were surprisingly similar until almost 1800; Europe’s subsequent divergence was shaped by exceptional resource bonanzas. East Asian growth has been less resourceintensive, and more continuous with pre-1800 patterns. Since 1978, ‘East Asian’ patterns again characterise coastal China, but China’s interior poses greater challenges; current interest in more resource-intensive, state-driven development strategies for those regions is thus unsurprising, but environmentally and socially risky.

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