For Teachers: Teachers' Guide

China and Europe: the New Units of Analysis


In the fourth section, Pomeranz and Wong argue that the recent emergence of the European Union (EU) has diminished the significance attached to the national state. The emergence of the EU also reminds us that nation-states are not natural developments and that political units change and evolve over time. Wong also analyzes the types of geographical units that can be used in comparing Europe and China; he analyzes the nature of economic dynamism in the world between 1500 and 1700.

Key Terms/Vocabulary

European Union
Imperial China
Advanced Commercial Economy

Study Questions

  1. What are the problems with comparing economic development in England and China? What sorts of comparisons are better?
  2. How did Europe’s economic development between 1500 and 1700 resemble that of other parts of East Asia and South Asia? What do these similarities suggest about the nature of global economic change in this period?

Discussion Questions

  1. Do Pomeranz and Wong’s arguments about units of analysis make sense?
  2. Can you think of other examples of comparison in which the units being compared do not seem to match up?