The Great Divergence : Two ranks of globalised regions

The globalisation is the process of international integration. By integration, we have to understand, for the economic part, the economic international interaction. Globalisation is not a new phenomena: empires like the Roman Empire, the Parthian Empire or the Han Dinasty are good exemples of an archaic globalisation.

But the globalisation started to be more and more important, firstly with the colonial empires in the 15th and 16th and even more since the Industrial Revolution with the significant reduce of the cost of international transports.


As we can see, colonisation shaped the world to the advantage of the colonizing countries and the disadvantage of  colonized countries. As we can see on this dynamic map (made by Andrei Nacu), there were 3 main waves of colonisation.
The firt one is from Spain and Portugal on the 15th and 16th century : it is the discovery of America.
The second one is from industrialised European countries (France, England, Denmard and Netherlands…) in the 19h century : it is the conquest of Africa and Asia.
The third one is the extension of Russia and the birth of USSR.

Economically, these colonisations had an impact until today: the colonised countries, even after their independance, came lately and are still behind in the economic globalisation as we can see on the next table from Maddison.

The value of World Exports by Regional Constant Prices of Western Europe in 1913 is 127 839 million whereas for Africa it is 14 625, this means that Western Europe exports more than 8,7 times more than Africa.
In 1998, for Europe it is of 2 490 696 millions whereas for Africa it is of 154 290, this means that Western Europe exports more than 16,1 times more than Africa.

ImageSource: Angus Maddison, The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective


This difference of dynamic is visible on this graph using the number of the first table (from the Maddison’s book): the values of Africa or Eastern Europe exports is increasing more and more, but not as fast as the World one.

To conclude, we can see that all countries are becoming more and more globalised and integrated. Nevertheless, colonised countries arrived later and are slower in the World integration.


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