The Great Divergence revisited: industrialization, inequality and political conflict in the unified growth model
The article suggests that the Great Divergence of the 19th century between “the West” and “the East” was preceded by the Great Divergence in the 18th century between the Global North and the Global South. This may be attributed to a new, much higher level of state efficiency in the Global North. The eastern and western regions of the Global North frequently used different methods to make their state apparatuses more efficient, but achieved strikingly similar results during the 18th century. The Great Divergence of the 19th century, remarkably, occurred within the Global North.
The 19th century saw an explosive growth of the gap between the “First” and the “Third” World as regards per capita incomes and levels of life that has become to be known as the “Great Divergence”. In the 20th century the Great Divergence continued up to the early 1970s, and then – in the late of the 1980s one could observe the beginning of the Great Divergence when the growth rates of the majority of the Third World countries started to exceed systematically the growth rates in the majority of the countries of the First World. We demonstrate that the dynamics of the gap between the First and Third World correlate in an unusually tight way with the dynamics of the world population growth. We also demonstrate that this correlation is not coincidental but reflects a very tight correlation between the phases of the global demographic transition and the phases of the Great Divergence / Great Convergence. The process of the Great Divergence that transforms rather smoothly into the process of the Great Convergence and the global demographic transition (that is the process of global modernization) can be regarded as different sides of a single process – a phase transition in the World System development – the global modernization process.
This thought-provoking monograph analyzes long- medium- and short-term global cycles of prosperity, recession, and depression, plotting them against centuries of important world events. Major research on economic and political cycles is integrated to clarify evolving relationships between the global center and its periphery as well as current worldwide economic upheavals and potential future developments. Central to this survey are successive waves of industrial and, later, technological and cybernetic progress, leading to the current era of globalization and the changes of the roles of both Western powers and former minors players, however that will lead to the formation of the world order without a hegemon. Additionally, the authors predict what they term the Great Convergence, the lessening of inequities between the global core and the rest of the world, including the wealth gap between First and Third World nations.
Among the topics in this ambitious volume:
· Why politics is often omitted from economic analysis.
· Why economic cycles are crucial to understanding the modern geopolitical landscape.
· How the aging of the developed world will affect world technological and economic future.<
· The evolving technological forecast for Global North and South.
· Where the U.S. is likely to stand on the future world stage.
Economic Cycles, Crises, and the Global Periphery will inspire discussion and debate among sociologists, global economists, demographers, global historians, and futurologists. This expert knowledge is necessary for further research, proactive response, and preparedness for a new age of sociopolitical change.