The Emergence of the World Economy

  • Ronald Findlay
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


In the waning years of the Second Millennium it is natural that our thoughts should turn to reflections of a longer-term nature than we normally engage in. Indeed we already have at least one extraordinarily imaginative and stimulating book, by the Oxford historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto (1995), that has viewed the past thousand years of the planet’s history from the vantage point of a future ‘galactic museum-keeper’, displaying vivid exhibits from a wide variety of the empires, civilizations and economic systems that have risen and fallen over that stretch of time. The theme of this and most other such reflections, implicitly or explicitly, is the role of ‘the West’. How did it rise, expand and sustain itself for so long? Is its day now over, with the lead passing to the Far Eastern economies of the Pacific Rim? Connected to this is the question of the prospects for developing countries. Are their present economic problems a consequence of past exploitation and colonial status, or of current misguided policies of state intervention? Is the spread of prosperity and democracy to them from the West inevitable? What of the former Communist countries? Was their attempt to get a jump on history by adopting socialism and central planning a fatal error, or can they eventually escape from that blind alley? Are there alternative systems of organization and belief that different societies will strive for, or have we reached an ‘end of history’ as Fukuyama (1992), perhaps rashly, predicted?


Cotton Textile World Economy Real Wage Economic History Woollen Cloth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© International Economic Association 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Findlay
    • 1
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityUSA

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