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Andrew Tylecote

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Andrew Tylecote

Geoff Hodgson has specified a six-condition definition of capitalism. The chapter relies on the income per capita statistics made available in recent years to examine what causes the six conditions to appear and which constraining factors might prevent the sustained growth that is meant to follow. The history of two transformations into capitalism that did not quite make it is particularly instructive. The first is the case of the Low Countries, which by the mid-seventeenth century had met all six conditions, but nonetheless stagnated during the eighteenth century, contrary to Britain, where the conditions were likewise met and income per capita growth expanded rapidly. The second is the case of Ming China, where growth failed to manifest despite being, by some estimates, close to economic take-off at around that time. The comparison reveals that the failure to build a unified home market can be fatal.

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Andrew Tylecote and Claudia Galvao