Tag: world development

Christopher Isett: New evidence of the great divergence

     Historian Christopher Isett aims to answer a big question about world development: “Why, given all of its advances, did China not arrive at the industrial revolution or modern economy and capitalism? Why did those originate in Europe?” In order to answer this question, Dr. Isett used the height records of wrongful death victims to estimate the average height of the people around 1680 to 1780 in China. The average changes of height of a population are an important index of nutrition levels and the stability of the society. Dr. Isett found that in 18th century, the average height of Chinese people stagnated, which reflects the stagnation of average household income. Next, the team will extend their research into the 19th century to understand the process of “The Great Divergence.” The results of this work could challenge the arguments of well-known historian Kenneth Pomaranze. Dr. Isett is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota. 中國與歐洲發展大分流的史學新證據     歷史學家愛仁民教授試著解答世界發展史上的一大爭論:『中國即使在各項科技發明上大幅領先歐洲,為何歐洲卻率先中國進入工業革命以並建立現代化的資本經濟?』為了回答這個問題,愛教授從意外致死受害者的身高紀錄,計算出中國二十世紀的平均身高。平均身高的消長,正是史學家衡量人民營養攝取水準以及當時社會穩定發展(有無天災人禍)的重要依據。他發現18世紀中國人民的平均身高一直保持在相同的水準,呼應了當時中國人民的平均收入水準。這項研究將中國與歐洲發展的分界點也更向西元1900年以前推移,也十分有可能推翻知名史學家『彭慕蘭』於『大分流』一書中提出來的觀點。

Read More »

Research
& Reflections