The Origins of Capitalism and the ‘Rise of the West'


The Origins of Capitalism and the ‘Rise of the West'


Document Type



Eric Mielants provides a fresh, interdisciplinary interpretation of the origins of modernity in general and of capitalism in particular. He argues that, contrary to established thinking, the "Rise of the West" should not be examined through the lens of the Industrial Revolution or the colonization of the New World but viewed through long-term developments that began in the Middle Ages.

A fascinating overview of civilizations in East Asia, South Asia, and northwestern Africa is provided and then systematically compared to developments in Europe at the same time. Utilizing this analysis, the book addresses some of the most important current debates in world history, comparative sociology, political economy, sociological theory and historical sociology. Mielants uncovers the ways that existing theories (such as Marxism, World-Systems Theory, and Smithian Modernization Theory) have suffered from either Eurocentric or limited temporal and spatial analyses, preventing them from fully explaining the reasons behind the emergence of capitalism in Western Europe.



Publication Date


Publication Information

Mielants, Eric. The Origins of Capitalism and the ‘Rise of the West’. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 2007.


Copyright 2007 Temple University Press.

[Japanese translation, Fujiwara Shoten Publishers, Tokyo, 2011]

[Korean translation in progress with Book Pot Publishing, Seoul, forthcoming 2014]

The Origins of Capitalism and the ‘Rise of the West'