Sunday, October 16, 2016

Gunder Frank debates David Landes on world economic history

This C-SPAN video captures two hours of debate between Gunder Frank (ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age) and David Landes (The Wealth and Poverty of Nations), which took place at Northeastern University in 1998. Frank and Landes were on opposite sides of a debate over deep economic history, the rise of the West, and globalization.

The debate is a bit tedious but at least one gets a sense of the main points of contention between Frank and Landes. (I was already familiar with both of their positions.) I knew Landes a bit because he was a Senior Fellow when I was a Junior Fellow at Harvard. We dined together on many occasions. If memory serves, he even asked my opinion on some of these issues, perhaps because I was a scientist with broad interests, and of Asian heritage. In those conversations he was much less antagonistic with me than with Frank :-)

Some relevant links from this blog: China 1793, Koxinga, the Needham question.

This is just a screenshot, as I can't embed the video here:

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