Globalization and the Colonial Origins of the Great Divergence

Intercontinental Trade and Living Standards in the Dutch East India Company’s Commercial Empire, c. 1600-1800


In Globalization and the Colonial Origins of the Great Divergence Pim de Zwart examines the Dutch East India Company’s intercontinental trade and its effects on living standards in various regions on the edges of the Indian Ocean in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Contrary to conventional views, De Zwart finds significant evidence of the integration of global commodity markets, an important dimension of globalization, before the 1800s. The effects of this globalization, and the associated colonialism, were diverse and could vary between and within regions. As globalization and colonialism affected patterns of economic development across the globe they played a part in the rise of global economic inequality, known as the ‘Great Divergence’, in the early modern period.
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Biographical Note

Pim de Zwart, Ph.D. (2015), Utrecht University, is a Lecturer at Wageningen University. He has published articles on the economic history of Indonesia, South Africa and Sri Lanka and on the long-term relationship between trade and economic development.

Table of contents

Preface ... vii
List of Figures, Tables and Maps ... viii

1 Introduction ... 1
2 Early Modern Globalization ... 31
3 Prices and Consumption Patterns ... 78
4 Wages and the Standard of Living ... 118
5 Population, Households and Labour Markets ... 152
6 Conclusion ... 195

Appendix 1: Weights and Measures ... 207
Appendix 2: Coins and Silver Values ... 210
Appendix 3: Kcal and Protein ... 213
Appendix 4: Creating the Price Series ... 214
Appendix 5: An Alternative Method for Dealing with Gaps in the Price Data ... 232
Appendix 6: The Wage Data ... 235
Appendix 7: Estimating Population Trends for Ceylon ... 248
Appendix 8: Occupational Structure of Ceylon ... 254

Bibliography ... 257
Index ... 284


All interested in economic, global, and colonial history, and those concerned with the history of the Dutch East India Company and the histories of the Cape Colony, Ceylon, India and Java.


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