Between Sinocentrism and Eurocentrism: Debating Andre Gunder Frank's Re-Orient: Global Economy in the Asian Age

Science and Society 65 (4):428 - 463 (2001)
Numerous theories have been advanced explaining the transition from feudalism to capitalism in western Europe, frequently by Marxists in the pages of Science & Society. Recently, however, a new group of world historians have mounted a concerted empirical attack on this "Eurocentric" perspective. They argue that as late as 1750-1800 China was the dominant player in the world market, and that its agriculture was more efficient and productive than Europe's. This essay attempts to refute empirically a recent key text in this anti-Eurocentric effort: Andre Gunder Frank's Re-Orient (1998). It also evaluates Bin Wong's China Transformed: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience (2000), and its claim that both Europe and China in the 18th century "had not escaped the limits of the economically possible scenarios envisioned by classical economists of the period.".
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