Why Europe Was First: Social Change and Economic Growth in Europe and East Asia, 1500-2050

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Anthem Press, 2007 - Business & Economics - 416 pages
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For most of its history Europe was a thoroughly average part of the world: poor, uncouth, technologically and culturally backward. By contrast, China was always far richer, more sophisticated and advanced. Yet it was Europe that first became modern, and by the nineteenth century China was struggling to catch up. This book explains why. Why did Europe succeed and why was China left behind? The answer, as we will see, does not only solve a long-standing historical puzzle, it also provides an explanation of the contemporary success of East Asia, and it shows what is wrong with current theories of development and modernization.

 

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Contents

The Nature Origin of Modern Society
3
The Failure Success of East Asia
15
The SelfTransforming Machine
27
The Discovery of Distance
43
The Face in the Mirror
61
Institutions Revolutions
207
Reflection
221
Entrepreneurship
243
Europe China Compared
277
Foreign Challenges_apanese Responses
293
Japan China in a Modern World
309
The New Politics of Modernization
325
Notes
339
Bibliography
369
Index
393
Copyright

Pluralism
259

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About the author (2007)

Erik Ringmar teaches political economy and cultural sociology at National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan. He received a PhD from Yale University in 1993 and between 1995 and 2006 he taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His ‘Surviving Capitalism: How We Learned to Live with the Market and Remained Almost Human’ was published by Anthem Press in 2005, while his book on blogging ‘A Blogger’s Manifesto’, also published by Anthem Press, was released in 2007.

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