Pomeranz's study "The Great Divergence" is a major contribution in historical social science insofar as it informs us why Europe and China experienced different trajectories of socio-economic development during the Early Modern period. What is unfortunately lacking is an assessment to what extent the diverging path dependencies of these two historical systems were to a certain extent already determined in the preceding period, c. 1200-1500 CE. In comparing the different social structures within the political economy of Europe and China during this "medieval" period, the author attempts to shed a new light on the "transition" debate which has remained insufficiently explored in Pomeranz's otherwise excellent and thought-provoking book.
[A substantially revised version of this article was translated into Korean and published as “Yurupkua Chunggukae Bikyosa” [Europe and China’s Comparison] in Changjak-kwa-Bipyong (Creation & Criticism, a peer reviewed South Korean journal), Korea: Changbi Publishers, May 2003, p. 302-320.]
Review of the Fernand Braudel Center
Mielants, Eric, "Europe and China Compared" (2002). Sociology & Anthropology Faculty Publications. 46.
Mielants, Eric. “Europe and China Compared” in Review of the Fernand Braudel Center, Vol. 25 (4), Fall 2002, pp.401-449.