Short Paper 1 - Jeff Bouton World History 1/31/10 The...

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Jeff Bouton World History 1/31/10 The Origins of the Modern World Everybody has their own way of interpreting history. The events of the past consist of lots of facts which aren’t really debatable, but how and why the world came to be is left open to interpretation. Many people believe the “Rise of the West” story, where Europe was deemed destined to become the all powerful region. Others take a polycentric, a world with many centers, look on history, like Robert Marks does in his book, The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-first Century . Marks takes history into a global perspective, as opposed to a Eurocentric point of view, as he tries to diminish the concept of Western superiority. Marks makes a compelling argument by talking about countries’ economic well being in the fifteenth century, and by explaining long established trade routes that were related to the Black Death, but he doesn’t totally convince me into buying into the polycentric point of view. Marks makes his point about a polycentric world by looking to the economies of Asia, mainly China and India, in the fifteenth century. China and India during this time period were the main producers of the World’s gross domestic product (GDP), to go along with being the main contributors to world’s population, by containing over fifty percent of it. The world’s productivity was also centered in Asia until the late 18 th century (Marks 2007: 7). Marks points this out because most people think of the exploration by Europeans around 1500, including what most historians agree on, like Adam Smith, as the most significant events in history, the voyages of Columbus to the Americas and those of Vasco da Gama around Africa to India (Marks 2007:
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5). These voyages only opened the world on a global scale even more. Then historians continue
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Short Paper 1 - Jeff Bouton World History 1/31/10 The...

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