‘The Great Divergence‘ is the term used by some historians to describe the emergence during the nineteenth century of Britain and then the United States (Ameranglia) as the predominant global economic, financial and political force in the world. The origination of the term is attributed to Samuel Huntington who applied it to the rise of the West generally where the European peoples became the dominant populations; overcame pre-modern growth constraints through technology, colonisation and settlerism; and triumphantly emerged in the course of the 19th century as the most powerful and wealthy civilisation, eclipsing and conquering the Asiatic and oriental powers. There is though another version of the Great Divergence: it refers specifically to the emergence of first, Britain and then the trans-Atlantic Ameranglian combination as the first and leading force in the 19th century rise of the West. This latter (Anglocentric) version of the concept forms the spine of New Zealand Historian James Belich’s book Replenishing the Earth – The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 1783-1939 (Oxford University Press, 2009). The Belich usage or hypothesis seems better to explain the modern world – whether it is the pre-eminence of the English language, the role in the world of Wall Street and the City, or predominance of the Ameranglian version of money – money-as-credit leveraged through an all-pervasive and intrinsically highly unstable financial system, the FIRE economy, in which an ever-expanding sphere of commodity production is now situated and financialised.
This blog is not a celebration of the Great Divergence, the Ameranglian system, not at all. It simply marks, charts and reports on the great force (including its periodic internal tensions and rivalries) that has shaped and continues to shape virtually every aspect of our lives, whether it is for example the role of home purchase and ownership in the financial system, financialisation, globalisation, the existence of the state of Israel, the history of Turkey or the behaviour of modern China. It is primarily occupied with the global financial system and capital markets, however it also periodically ventures into the history and pre-history of this system and world – and consideration of challengers to it, particularly China.