Economic historian Naill Ferguson on the six “killer apps” (or institutions) in the West that generated the Great Divergence since 1700s, up until the recent rise of China. And he argues that gap between the West and the East is coming to an end, with China fast catching up with the West, leading to a re-convergence of the world economy.
In the interview, Naill Ferguson had many claims in his sharp observation of the history. However, despite being deeply intriguing, most of his claims remain to be just hypotheses. As a China watcher, I am not so certain at this moment that China’s surpassing of the US on per capita income level is inevitable, although I am positive that China’s total GDP will pass the US in no time.
For readers who are interested in the topic of the Great Divergence and Re-convergence, I would recommend two additional readings: The first is a classic by Ken Pomeranz, “The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy“; and the second is by Ian Morris, “Why the West Rules -For Now.”