1 November - Gravensteen Lecture: Peer Vries

This series features lectures by leading international scholars followed by lively discussion and debate. Peer Vries(University of Vienna) will give a lecture related to his new book, 'Escaping Poverty: The Origins of Modern Economic Growth'. All are welcome.

Date & Time 
1 November 2013
15.00-17.00 hrs

Gravensteen, Room 0.11
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

Reception to Follow at Faculty Club Brasserie
Sponsored by LGI & AMT

Escaping Poverty: The Origins of Modern Economic Growth

The lecture deals with the question what up until now economists, historians and other social scientists have said about the emergence of modern economic growth in certain parts of the world (roughly 'the West') and about the ensuing Great Divergence between rich and poor countries. I will present my own position in this everlasting but very fascinating debate focusing on the active role of the state in promoting and hampering economic growth and development. In contrast to what mainstream economists claim time and again, in those countries that took off, government always did far more than just creating a level playing field for economic agents. Countries that developed tended to have developmental states. There are, however, no quick fixes or one-size-fits-all political or institutional solutions. Outcomes always depend on circumstances.

Discussant: Erik Bähre (CA-DS, Leiden)
Chair: Robert Ross (History, Leiden)

Speaker Bio

Peer Vries is currently professor for global economic history, in particular for the early modern period, at the University of Vienna. He studied economic and social history in Leiden, where he also defended his PhD and where he taught for over twenty-five years. He is co-founder of the Global Economic History Network and of the Journal of Global History and held guest professorships in Nijmegen, London and Tianjin, China. He has been Fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences and is member of the Academia Europaea. Over the last fifteen years he published widely on the Great Divergence and the origins of modern economic growth in several journals and monographs: Via Peking back to Manchester: Britain, the Industrial Revolution, and China (Leiden 2003); Zur politischen Ökonomie des Tees. Was uns Tee über die englische und chinesische Wirtschaft der Frühen Neuzeit sagen kann (Vienna/Cologne/Weimar 2009), and now very recently, Escaping poverty the origins of modern economic growth (Vienna 2013).

CV and publications

Last Modified: 16-10-2013