Jack Goldstone: Efflorescences and Economic Growth in World History https://delong.typepad.com/efflorescences_and_economic_growth_in_world_histor.pdf: ' Jan de Vries (2001) has attacked the notion of disparate 'premodern' and 'modern' growth patterns to argue that extensive, Smithian, and Schumpeterian growth coexisted 'in both the pre-industrial past and the modern present', although their proportions have varied over space and time....I wish to argue that this attack has not gone far enough.... It was been widely recognized that well before the Industrial and French revolutions, European societies and economies departed from the ideal-typical view of "feudal" economically and technologically stagnant agrarian societies dominated by a predatory elite that wasted all surpluses. Rather... from at least the twelfth century onward... a trans-European set of urban networks that combined management of urban and rural market-oriented craft production... with a flourishing intra-European and extra-European global trade; and from at least the sixteenth century national rulers brought their unruly agrarian elites to heel by building bureaucratized central ("absolutist") governments that provided a rule of law and framework for the protection and accumulation of private property and capital... many of the characteristics of 'modern' growth, or of 'modern' political and social structures, in gestation.... Every one of the above trends observed in Europe and labeled as proof of 'early modern' character—technical improvements in agriculture and production providing rising total output and per capital productivity (including aggressive transformation of the natural landscape); vast urban-based regional and global trade networks supporting wealthy merchant classes; and increasingly centralized and bureaucratized political regimes thatcreated ordered territories and subordinated elites—are also widely evident outside of Europe prior to the eighteenth century... often earlier and in a higher state of development.... Let me propose... 'efflorescence," intended as the opposite of 'crisis'. Where a crisis is a relatively sharp, unexpected downturn in significant demographic and economic indices, often accompanied by political turmoil and cultural conflicts, an 'efflorescence' is a relatively sharp, often unexpected upturn... usually accompanied by political expansion and institution building and cultural synthesis and consoliidation.. involv[ing] both Smithian and Schumpeterian growth... often seen by contemporaries or successors as 'golden ages'... often set[ting] new patterns for thought, political organization, and economic life that last for many generations.... Throughout history, all societies have experienced periods of efflorescence, as well as extensive growth, stagnation, and crises—but that these processes are all distinct from Kuznetzian 'modern' economic growth founded on the continual and conscious application of scientific and technological progress to economic activity...


#noted #2019-12-27

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