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Economic and Social History Blog

The Great Divergence

Why are few countries rich and many poor? Why are there such big differences in wealth even within countries? And will these differences grow bigger or smaller? If the turbulent development of countries like China and India is any measure to go by, we are likely to see major changes in the future. To understand how such economic transformations work, this course looks to the historical record. Some of the questions we will address are; how come some societies in the past managed to develop wealthy, urbanized economies? Why did the Industrial Revolution take place in England and not in China? Why could other western countries easily catch up with England, while large parts of Asia, Africa, and South-America remained underdeveloped up until the present?

You will be trained in multiple creative ways of expressing what you have learned. Besides writing skills this course also focuses on enhancing your skills in terms of oral presentation, visualisation and communication of your research results. These skills are key to demonstrating to future employers the training you have received in terms of analysis and comparison of both long-term trends and historical events.