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ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age

Andre Gunder Frank
Copyright Date: 1998
Edition: 1
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Andre Gunder Frank asks us toReOrientour views away from Eurocentrism-to see the rise of the West as a mere blip in what was, and is again becoming, an Asia-centered world. In a bold challenge to received historiography and social theory he turns on its head the world according to Marx, Weber, and other theorists, including Polanyi, Rostow, Braudel, and Wallerstein. Frank explains the Rise of the West in world economic and demographic terms that relate it in a single historical sweep to the decline of the East around 1800. European states, he says, used the silver extracted from the American colonies to buy entry into an expanding Asian market that already flourished in the global economy. Resorting to import substitution and export promotion in the world market, they became Newly Industrializing Economies and tipped the global economic balance to the West. That is precisely what East Asia is doing today, Frank points out, to recover its traditional dominance. As a result, the "center" of the world economy is once again moving to the "Middle Kingdom" of China. Anyone interested in Asia, in world systems and world economic and social history, in international relations, and in comparative area studies, will have to take into account Frank's exciting reassessment of our global economic past and future.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92131-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xv-xxx)
    Andre Gunder Frank
  4. CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Real World History vs. Eurocentric Social Theory
    (pp. 1-51)

    My thesis is that there is “unity in diversity.” However, we can neither understand not appreciate the world’s diversity without perceiving how unity itself generates and continually changes diversity. We all have to live in this one world in which diversity must be tolerated and could be appreciated in unity. Of course, I refer to toleration and appreciation of diversity in ethnicity, gender, culture, taste, politics, and color or “race.” I do not advocate acceptance of inequality in gender, wealth, income, and power without struggle. Therefore, we could all benefit from a world perspective that illuminates not only the subjective...

  5. CHAPTER 2 The Global Trade Carousel 1400–1800
    (pp. 52-130)

    The major thesis of this book is that, contrary to widespread doubts and denials, there was a single global world economy with a worldwide division of labor and multilateral trade from 1500 onward. This world economy had what can be identified as its own systemic character and dynamic, whose roots in Afro-Eurasia extended back for millennia. It was this world political economic structure and its dynamic that had motivated Europeans to seek greater access to the economically dominant Asia ever since the European Crusades. The same Asian magnet led to the “discovery” and incorporation of the Western Hemisphere “New” World...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Money Went Around the World and Made the World Go Round
    (pp. 131-164)

    An Afro-Eurasian-wide market for gold and silver has existed since time immemorial. The great fourteenth-century historian Ibn Khaldun observed that “if money is scarce in the Maghrib and Ifriquiyah, it is not scarce in the countries of the Slavs and the European Christians. If it is scarce in Egypt and Syria, it is not scarce in India and China. … Such things … have often been transferred from one region to another” (Ibn Khaldun 1969: 303). Caribbean gold was added by the Spaniards from the voyages of Columbus and his followers. A major new infusion of America silver began with...

  7. CHAPTER 4 The Global Economy: Comparisons and Relations
    (pp. 165-225)

    The so-called European hegemony in the modern world system was very late in developing and was quite incomplete and never unipolar. In reality, during the period 1400–1800, sometimes regarded as one of “European expansion” and “primitive accumulation” leading to full capitalism, the world economy was still very predominantly under Asian influences. The Chinese Ming/Qing, Turkish Ottoman; Indian Mughal, and Persian Safavid empires were economically and politically very powerful and only waned vis-à-vis the Europeans toward the end of this period and thereafter. Therefore, if anything, the modern world system was under Asian hegemony, not European. Likewise, much of the...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Horizontally Integrative Macrohistory
    (pp. 226-257)

    The structure of the global economy and world system is outlined in the preceding chapters, but the proposition that it has its own temporal dynamic has been only implicit. Therefore, this chapter uses some analytical apparatus to inquire into this temporal dynamic and to distinguish among various kinds of temporal and possibly cyclical movements. For, if there indeed was a single globe-encompassing world economic system with its own structure of interlinkages among its regions and sectors, then it stands to reason that what happened in one of them should or at least may have had repercussions also in one or...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Why Did the West Win (Temporarily)?
    (pp. 258-320)

    This chapter poses the questionwhythe West won (temporarily). It offers two answers and inquires into the possible relations between them. One answer is that the Asians were weakened, and the other answer is that the Europeans were strengthened. That may sound platitudinous, but it is not if we consider what weakened Asians, what strengthened Europeans, and what may in turn have related these two processes. Moreover, this very question/answer combination is not platitudinous: virtually all other contending “explanations” rest on the supposition or assertion that Asia was and supposedly remained “traditional.” They also allege that Europe first pulled...

  10. CHAPTER 7 Historiographic Conclusions and Theoretical Implications
    (pp. 321-360)

    It is time to draw some conclusions and suggest some implications from our study. It will be relatively easy to conclude from the evidence presented here that a number of widely held theoretical propositions, or rather suppositions, arenotsupported by the historical evidence. It will be more difficult to begin searching out the implications of this evidence for alternative theoretical propositions.

    The conclusions are doubly troubling: the historical evidence against these widely held theoretical propositions is so abundant and systematic that it empirically invalidates them altogether. However, these propositions form the very basis and heart of nineteenth- and twentieth-century...

  11. References
    (pp. 361-388)
  12. Index
    (pp. 389-416)