Document Type


Article Version

Publisher's PDF

Publication Date

Fall 2002


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.]


Copyright 2002 SUNY Binghamton University

Archived with the permission of the author and the copyright holder.

Publication Title

Review of the Fernand Braudel Center

Published Citation

Mielants, Eric. “Europe and China Compared” in Review of the Fernand Braudel Center, Vol. 25 (4), Fall 2002, pp.401-449.

Peer Reviewed