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Is There An East Asian Development Path? Long-Term Comparisons, Constraints, And Continuities

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Chapter Summary

This chapter has three parts. The first part, drawn from a book I published in 2000, argues that as late as 1750, advanced commercial regions in East Asia were much more like those in Western Europe than we have usually realized, with much of the 19th century divergence between these areas depending on favorable resource shocks in the Atlantic world. Consequently, the second, post-1850, part of the chapter examines elements of a shared East Asian growth path, which involve significant modifications of Western technologies to make them compatible with physical, institutional, and cultural legacies of the pre-industrial growth patterns described in the first part. The third part particularly emphasizes some resource-related doubts about whether the recent growth of some parts of China along an &t;East Asian&t; path can be extended across the rest of the country?and thus adds some qualifications to even this limited kind of convergence.

Keywords: Atlantic world; China; East Asian growth path; Western Europe; Western technologies



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