Great Divergence Writing Assignment - Krista Niewiadomski...

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Krista NiewiadomskiNiewiadomski 1Professor PalhegyiHIST-10114 November 2018The Indian Ocean Trade as Europe’s Success During the Great Divergence Over the decades growth in the world has been imminent, and it seems to be only improving as we have progressed. Back in the 19th century we can see this principle applied during the time of The Great Divergence. The Great Divergence is when the Western part of the world, more specifically Western Europe and parts of the New World, overcame the constraints of growth in respect to the rest of the world to become the most powerful, resourceful, and wealthy nation. Characterized as “The Western World,” this region dominated other nations including India, Asia, and the Middle East, which were still developing in their own ways. Although there is only one pathway that happened, a standing fact that will never change, many debate whether Europe surpassed these other nations due to their superiority over other empires or merely luck. Those who argue in favor of Europe’s superiority mention the term “Eurocentrism,” which is bias towards the Western Civilization and how their exceptionalism rose from different revolutions that occurred. Some take the completely opposite side of the spectrum and criticize the notion that Europe was exceptional, while arguing that other empires like Asia and India helped to spur The Great Divergence. Although there will never be a legitimate answer to this debate, it is still plausible for one to take information based on what they have learned and form their own opinion. In the article “Was It Pluck or Luck That Made the West Grow Rich?” by David D. Buck, three authors argue their own stances on the debate. Inthe end, while no one author is definitively correct, all the information presented is legitimate and as a result, they can form their own opinion on whether Europe’s efforts were due to “pluck or luck.” Buck analyzes three authors’ books to present a “more insightful look at three radically different approaches to political economy” (Buck 428). Authors David S. Landes, Andre Gunder
Niewiadomski 2Frank, and R. Bin Wong are being analyzed and discussed on their exclusively different views onThe Great Divergence debate. The first author that Buck analyzes is Landes in his book “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor.” Buck mentions that Landes is arguing for “the pluckiness of the Europeans, whom he sees as taking advantage of an exceptional cultural heritage to forge remarkable achievements by which they transformed the whole world” (Buck 413). Overall Landes’ view can be summarized as narrow and one-sided, referring to those who don’t support his theory as “Europhobes” which can be seen as slightly mocking. For example, Landes describes that the most tremendous impact of change was due to “the substitution of machinery for human labor; (2) the substitution of inanimate for animate sources of power; and

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