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Mostrando postagens com marcador great divergence. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador great divergence. Mostrar todas as postagens

quarta-feira, 16 de setembro de 2020

The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy - Kenneth Pomeranz


The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy 

Kenneth Pomeranz

(The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) Kindle Edition

The Great Divergence brings new insight to one of the classic questions of history: Why did sustained industrial growth begin in Northwest Europe, despite surprising similarities between advanced areas of Europe and East Asia? As Ken Pomeranz shows, as recently as 1750, parallels between these two parts of the world were very high in life expectancy, consumption, product and factor markets, and the strategies of households. Perhaps most surprisingly, Pomeranz demonstrates that the Chinese and Japanese cores were no worse off ecologically than Western Europe. Core areas throughout the eighteenth-century Old World faced comparable local shortages of land-intensive products, shortages that were only partly resolved by trade.

Pomeranz argues that Europe's nineteenth-century divergence from the Old World owes much to the fortunate location of coal, which substituted for timber. This made Europe's failure to use its land intensively much less of a problem, while allowing growth in energy-intensive industries. Another crucial difference that he notes has to do with trade. Fortuitous global conjunctures made the Americas a greater source of needed primary products for Europe than any Asian periphery. This allowed Northwest Europe to grow dramatically in population, specialize further in manufactures, and remove labor from the land, using increased imports rather than maximizing yields. Together, coal and the New World allowed Europe to grow along resource-intensive, labor-saving paths.

Meanwhile, Asia hit a cul-de-sac. Although the East Asian hinterlands boomed after 1750, both in population and in manufacturing, this growth prevented these peripheral regions from exporting vital resources to the cloth-producing Yangzi Delta. As a result, growth in the core of East Asia's economy essentially stopped, and what growth did exist was forced along labor-intensive, resource-saving paths--paths Europe could have been forced down, too, had it not been for favorable resource stocks from underground and overseas.

quarta-feira, 20 de março de 2013

A Grande Convergencia; Fim da Divergencia? - Book Review (WSJ)

Não concordo, integralmente, com todos os argumentos de Mahubani, embora, no geral, ele tenha alguma razão, ou seja, o mundo está se diversificando, com maior crescimento na Ásia Pacífico e menor nos países do velho capitalismo ocidental. Mas não estou seguro que estes últimos estejam condenados a serem suplantados pelos da região asiática. Algumas evidências são aplastantes, mas não podemos descartar a economia da inteligência por causa de alguns indicadores ainda baseados na produção material de bens e serviços. 
Quem, infelizmente, fica de fora dessas tendências decisivas para a economia mundial é a América Latina. Parece que estamos condenados a estacionar, como aliás fizemos no último meio século.
 Paulo Roberto de Almeida

A New Concert of Nations

In 1990, a billion people earned enough income to consider making discretionary purchases. By 2010, the figure had more than doubled.

The Indian scholar Brahma Challaney recently gave a talk at the Asia Society in New York about the coming global water-supply crisis. It was a dispiriting forecast: drought and pollution, even wars over water. That same morning brought dreary news from other fronts: a fresh threat from North Korea, another atrocity in Syria, a frightening smog alert from Beijing.
Anyone feeling the weight of the world's woes will be grateful for Kishore Mahbubani's "The Great Convergence," a sweeping survey that proves to be, in large measure, a counterweight to global gloom and doom. Mr. Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, is under no illusions about the troubles we face, but he takes the longer view, reaching back a few decades to see an upward trend and to marvel at how far we have come.
Under Mr. Mahbubani's lens, we see a plunge in the rates of extreme poverty and early-childhood deaths; a rise in literacy; a drop in the number of armed conflicts. "Major interstate wars," says Mr. Mahbubani, "have become a sunset industry." The good-news numbers are remarkable. In 1990, one billion human beings earned enough income to consider making discretionary purchases beyond mere necessity; by 2010, the figure had more than doubled. Mr. Mahbubani has lived this change. He was raised, he says, in "a typical third world city . . . [with] no flush toilets, some malnutrition, ethnic riots and, most importantly of all, no sense of hope for the future." The city was Singapore, today an economic juggernaut with a per-capita income that outranks America's.
imageSuch statistics are presented as evidence of a "great convergence," a phrase that Mr. Mahbubani first spotted in a Financial Times column by Martin Wolf, in which the columnist was describing a convergence of global interests, values and economic fortunes. Of course, nothing says "convergence" like the rush to connectivity, and while we know this story well, Mr. Mahbubani's treatment still startles: Eleven million cellphone subscriptions, world-wide, in 1990; 5½ billion today. In 1985 the world's fastest computer, the Cray 2, the size of a washing machine, was prohibitively expensive and required coolants to avoid overheating. Today the Cray 2's match is the iPad 2, and it runs on 10 watts of power.
The Great Convergence By Kishore Mahbubani
(PublicAffairs, 315 pages, $26.99)

Mr. Mahbubani is a big-picture writer and thinker, a Thomas Friedman with a strong Asian perspective, and like Mr. Friedman he is inclined toward the aphorism or analogy. When he eventually leaves his world-is-improving narrative to fret about future geopolitics, he does so with a maritime metaphor: "People no longer live in more than one hundred separate boats. Instead they all live in 193 separate cabins on the same boat. But this boat has a problem. It has 193 captains and crews, each claiming exclusive responsibility for one cabin. However, it has no captain or crew to take care of the boat as a whole."
This passage sounds Mr. Mahbubani's second theme: If we are gaining ground and converging in inspiring ways, we still lack an effective architecture for global governance. The need is critical, Mr. Mahbubani believes, because that metaphorical boat may soon run into an iceberg. The new arrivals in the Asian middle class, for example, will expect the trappings of success: a car, a refrigerator and so on, and our planet won't be able to support them. For Mr. Mahbubani, the answer is some kind of global stewardship, one especially concerned with the environment, the economy and security. In short, we need a global referee.
But how to get there? Mr. Mahbubani skewers existing structures—the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the G-20—as either ineffectual or beholden to the great powers. The largest carbon emitters, to take a favorite example, have rejected global protocols (the U.S.) or signed them and pursued a "development first" strategy (China and India). It's hard to argue with Mr. Mahbubani on that point but also hard to see how a new global architecture is possible when the great powers aren't interested.
One great power, of course, is particularly uninterested, and in these pages Mr. Mahbubani casts the U.S. as an arrogant actor, a hegemon with no patience for multilateralism. Here his argument weakens from overreach. America's frustration with the U.N. is not, as he argues, merely a matter of self-interest; it is also rooted in real concerns about mismanagement and certain U.N. policies. As for Mr. Mahbubani's charge that the U.N. acts only "when the residents of Park Avenue" (his phrase for the five permanent members of the Security Council) are affected, that just isn't so. We have seen U.N. interventions in Somalia, Kosovo and Libya, none of which was exactly a "Park Avenue" interest.
But Mr. Mahbubani has a good idea for reforming the Security Council itself (a kind of staggered, tiers-of-influence plan), and he has good questions for Americans. Are we ready to accept being "No. 2" on the global stage, at least by certain metrics? In fewer than five years China's share of global income (only 2% two decades ago) will surpass that of the U.S., and yet the political discourse in America suggests an unwillingness to face that outcome, let alone plan for it. "The West will not lose power," Mr. Mahbubani writes. "It will have to share power."
In the end, he remains hopeful because he really believes it's the long view that matters. If Southeast Asia—a war-torn, poverty-riven corner of the globe only a half-century ago—is today a region of peace and prosperity, then, Mr. Mahbubani believes, much else is possible. "In this rapidly changing world of ours," he writes, ". . . miracles can happen."

Mr. Nagorski is executive vice president of the Asia Society and the author of "Miracles on the Water: The Heroic Survivors of a World War II U-Boat Attack."
A version of this article appeared March 20, 2013, on page A13 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: A New Concert Of Nations.

sexta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2011

Por que o Ocidente dominou o mundo? - Niall Ferguson (TED)

Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity

TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/niall_ferguson_the_6_killer_apps_of_prosperity.html

Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture -- call them the 6 killer apps -- that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable.

Niall Ferguson
History is a curious thing, and Niall Ferguson investigates not only what happened but why. (Hint: Politics and money explain a lot.) Full bio and more links

Economic historians call this "The Great Divergence." And this slide here is the best simplification of the Great Divergence story I can offer you. It's basically two ratios of per capita GDP,per capita gross domestic product, so average income. One, the red line, is the ratio of British to Indian per capita income. And the blue line is the ratio of American to Chinese. And this chart goes back to 1500. And you can see here that there's an exponential Great Divergence. They start off pretty close together. In fact, in 1500, the average Chinese was richer than the average North American. When you get to the 1970s, which is where this chart ends, the average Briton is more than 10 times richer than the average Indian. And that's allowing for differences in the cost of living. It's based on purchasing power parity. The average American is nearly 20 times richer than the average Chinese by the 1970s.
You may think we can explain the Great Divergencein terms of geography. We know that's wrong,because we conducted two great natural experiments in the 20th century to see if geography mattered more than institutions. We took all the Germans, we divided them roughly in two, and we gave the ones in the East communism, and you see the result. Within an incredibly short period of time,people living in the German Democratic Republicproduced Trabants, the Trabbi, one of the world's worst ever cars, while people in the West produced the Mercedes Benz. If you still don't believe me, we conducted the experiment also in the Korean Peninsula. And we decided we'd take Koreans in roughly the same geographical place with, notice, the same basic traditional culture, and we divided them in two, and we gave the Northerners communism. And the result is an even bigger divergence in a very short space of time than happened in Germany. Not a big divergence in terms of uniform design for border guards admittedly, but in almost every other respect, it's a huge divergence. Which leads me to think that neither geography nor national character, popular explanations for this kind of thing, are really significant.
But you know, this is a TED audience, and if I keep talking about institutions, you're going to turn off. So I'm going to translate this into language that you can understand. 
Let's call them the killer apps. 
I want to explain to you that there were six killer apps that set the West apart from the rest. 
And they're kind of like the apps on your phone, in the sense that they look quite simple. They're just icons; you click on them.But behind the icon, there's complex code. It's the same with institutions. 
There are six which I think explain the Great Divergence. 

One, competition.
Two, the scientific revolution. 
Three, property rights.
Four, modern medicine. 
Five, the consumer society.
And six, the work ethic. 

You can play a game and try and think of one I've missed at, or try and boil it down to just four, but you'll lose.
Who's got the work ethic now? Take a look at mathematical attainment by 15 year-olds. At the top of the international league table according to the latest PISA study, is the Shanghai district of China.The gap between Shanghai and the United Kingdom and the United States is as big as the gap between the U.K. and the U.S. and Albania and Tunisia. You probably assume that because the iPhone was designed in California but assembled in China that the West still leads in terms of technological innovation. You're wrong. In terms of patents, there's no question that the East is ahead.Not only has Japan been ahead for some time,South Korea has gone into third place, and China is just about to overtake Germany. Why? Because the killer apps can be downloaded. It's open source.Any society can adopt these institutions, and when they do, they achieve what the West achieved after 1500 -- only faster.
So I want to end with three questions for the future billions, just ahead of 2016, when the United States will lose its place as number one economy to China. The first is, can you delete these apps, and are we in the process of doing so in the Western world? The second question is, does the sequencing of the download matter? And could Africa get that sequencing wrong? One obvious implication of modern economic history is that it's quite hard to transition to democracy before you've established secure private property rights. Warning: that may not work. And third, can China do withoutkiller app number three? That's the one that John Locke systematized when he said that freedom was rooted in private property rights and the protection of law. That's the basis for the Western model of representative government. Now this picture shows the demolition of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's studio in Shanghai earlier this year. He's now free again, having been detained, as you know, for some time. But I don't think his studio has been rebuilt.
I don't think the decline of Western civilization is inevitable, because I don't think history operates in this kind of life-cycle model, beautifully illustrated by Thomas Cole's "Course of Empire" paintings. That's not the way history works. That's not the way the West rose, and I don't think it's the way the West will fall. The West may collapse very suddenly.Complex civilizations do that, because they operate, most of the time, on the edge of chaos.That's one of the most profound insights to come out of the historical study of complex institutions like civilizations. No, we may hang on, despite the huge burdens of debt that we've accumulated, despite the evidence that we've lost our work ethic and other parts of our historical mojo. But one thing is for sure,the Great Divergence is over, folks.