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Great Divergence and Great Convergence

A Global Perspective

  • Book
  • © 2015


  • Introduces the notion of the Great Convergence as driven by globalization
  • Demonstrates that the Great Divergence and the Great Convergence are a single process
  • Dispels the widespread belief that globalization is profitable for developed countries only

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About this book

This new monograph provides a stimulating new take on hotly contested topics in world modernization and the globalizing economy. It begins by situating what is called the Great Divergence--the social/technological revolution that led European nations to outpace the early dominance of Asia--in historical context over centuries. This is contrasted with an equally powerful Great Convergence, the recent economic and technological expansion taking place in Third World nations and characterized by narrowing inequity among nations. They are seen here as two phases of an inevitable global process, centuries in the making, with the potential for both positive and negative results.

This sophisticated presentation examines:

Why the developing world is growing more rapidly than the developed world.

  • How this development began occurring under the Western world's radar.
  • How former colonies of major powers grew to drive the world's economy.
  • Why so many Westerneconomists have been slow to recognize the Great Convergence.
  • The increasing risk of geopolitical instability.
  • Why the world is likely to find itself without an absolute leader after the end of the American hegemony

A work of rare scope, Great Divergence and Great Convergence gives sociologists, global economists, demographers, and global historians a deeper understanding of the broader movement of social and economic history, combined with a long view of history as it is currently being made; it also offers some thrilling forecasts for global development in the forthcoming decades.

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Table of contents (5 chapters)


“This book is recommended to anyone interested in understanding the present state and context of the world system should find Great Divergence and Great Convergence: A Global Perspective a very valuable read and a continual source of insight and information. … This book will make a valuable contribution to world system analysis in general and the specifics of the Great Divergence and Great Convergence.” (Tony Harper, Journal of Economics and Political Economy, Vol. 2 (3), September, 2015)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eurasian Center of Big History and System Forecasting, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

    Leonid Grinin

  • International Laboratory of Political, Demography and Social Macrodynamics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration(RANEPA), Moscow, Russia

    Andrey Korotayev

About the authors

Leonid E. Grinin is research professor and the director of the Volgograd Center for Social Research, as well as the deputy director of the Eurasian Center for Big History & System Forecasting and senior research professor at the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He is the editor-in-chief of the journal Age of Globalization (in Russian), as well as a co-editor of the international journals Social Evolution & History and the Journal of Globalization Studies. Dr. Grinin is the author of more than 360 scholarly publications in Russian and English, including 25 monographs. Andrey V. Korotayev is senior research professor of the Oriental Institute and Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, head of the Laboratory for Destabilization Risk Monitoring of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, senior research professor of the International Laboratory for Political Demography of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, as well as a professor at the Faculty of Global Studies of the Moscow State University. He has authored and co-authored over 300 scholarly publications. At present he co-coordinates the Russian Academy of Sciences Presidium Project Complex System Analysis and Mathematical Modeling of Global Dynamics. He is a laureate of the Russian Science Support Foundation in The Best Economists of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nomination (2006).

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