The Great Divergence & Industrialization in Western Europe and China

Topics: Industrial Revolution, Europe, United Kingdom, Western Europe / Pages: 9 (2148 words) / Published: Apr 6th, 2013
Beginning gradually in the 15th century and accelerating into the main course of the 19th century, many regions of the world experienced a tremendous growth in their population, agriculture, and economy. By using innovative measures to improve technology and means of production, certain parts of the world, specifically the Western world first then China, were able to emerge into newly industrialized and modernized nations. Some significant events that triggered these developments include the Age of Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, and perhaps the most influential, the Industrial Revolution. As a result of these historical movements, European powers came to dominate world politics and trade by the end of the 19th century. Due to a variety of reasons, Britain was the first nation in the world to lead the Industrial Revolution. It is widely acknowledged that the Western world was among the first to experience the “Great Divergence,” but the main dispute today remains why exactly the West triumphed over China, in particular, despite the greater technological developments China had possessed for many preceding centuries. Some proposed theories suggest that Europeans succeeded because they had not only already accumulated respectable wealth and status before industrialization, but also because they possessed a dynamic and progressive attitude towards change. A popular theory is that Europe’s highly fragmented state actually contributed to its success. Because there was no sole centralized power to dominate and limit its development, Europe’s economy was able to benefit from greater competition within states. Unlike Europe, China was under the rule of a single emperor. In an article written for Economic Development and Cultural Change, Justin Lin states “China, on the other hand, was ruled by one dominant ideological system backed by absolute political power, and no genuine public dispute was allowed. As a result, despite the fact that ‘the Chinese

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Japan & Western Europe Industrialization
  • Western Europe
  • Western Expansion-Industrialization
  • Impact of Industrialization on China
  • Islam and Western Europe
  • Peter The Great Absolutism And Its Impact On Western Europe
  • Industrialization in Nineteenth Century Europe
  • Eastern and Western Europe
  • Feudalism and Western Europe
  • Industrialization and Western Global Hegemony