The Status of the Far Eastern Civilization/World System: Evidence from City Data

David Wilkinson


T. Chandlers city data are used to inquire whether, and when, East Asia was a world system in itself, or part of a larger Old World world-system; and whether, and when, the east end of the Old World oikumene was more advanced than the west end. On the available data, (1) A.G. Franks thesis of a single Old World world-system is less well supported than the thesis of a long coexistence of a plurality of world systems, including a separate Far Eastern system; (2) Franks thesis of the general economic lead of China over Europe is supported; (3) there is evidence of an interesting medieval outrunning of the west end by the east end economy, which begs further investigation.

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