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DisORIENT: Money, Technological Development and the Rise of the West

date Date: January 4, 2016
date Author(s): David Fields and Matías Vernengo
date Affiliation: University of Utah - Bucknell University

This paper analyzes the revisionist literature on the Rise of the West.Revisionist authors suggest that the so-called Great Divergence is relatively recent, and that good luck – in the form of silver from the Americas, and abundance of coal, rather than European exceptionalism – was central for the higher rates of growth of GDP in the West. This paper argues that while the revisionist literature provides relevant critiques of conventional accounts of the Rise of the West, it remains rooted in marginalist or neoclassical views of both the role of money and technological progress, and that abandoning these theoretical foundations would strengthen some of its arguments

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