Economic History of a Divided Europe : Four Diverse Regions in an Integrating Continent book cover
1st Edition

Economic History of a Divided Europe
Four Diverse Regions in an Integrating Continent

ISBN 9781032173665
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
284 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book presents the sharp regional diff erences within the integrating European continent. Four regions – Northwestern Europe, Southern Europe, Central Europe, and Eastern-Southeastern Europe – represent high, medium, and relatively less-developed levels of economic advancement. These disparities have emerged as a result of historical diff erences that produced and reinforced cultural and behavioral diff erences.

The author examines the distinctions between the regions, looks at how these differences transpired and became so retrenched, and answers the question of why some countries were able to elevate to higher levels of economic development while others could not. This book is unique in that it provides a timely historical analysis of the main causes of the most pressing conflicts in Europe today. Readers will come away from this book with a deeper understanding of the sharp divergence in economic standing between the four different regions of Europe, as well as knowledge about how institutional corruption and other cultural features exacerbated these variations. The book also offers a better understanding of major European Union confl icts between member countries and between member and nonmember countries, as well as the rise of autocratic regimes in certain countries. The book begins with a short history of European integration throughout European civilization and then goes on to discuss the modern reality of integration and attempts to homogenize the Continent that divided into four different macro-regions.

It will primarily appeal to scholars, researchers and students studying Europe from various fi elds, including economics, business, history, political science, and sociology, as well as a general readership interested in Europe’s past, present, and future.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction: Europe, its civilization and historical regions

Europe and its civilization

The idea and reality of European integration

In spite of homogenized continent, major macro-regional differences

Is the Central and Eastern European backwardness a legacy of communism?

The ‘longue durèe’ approach

Evaluating and measuring peripheral backwardness

The terms of backwardness, its measurement and generalization

Regional differences and the future of Europe

Chapter 1. Long historical roads towards regional differences within Europe: Four regions in 1913

Explanatory theories and the reality

Road towards high level of advancement: Northwestern Europe

The revolutionary transformation of the western mind; from the renaissance via

reformation to scientific revolution and enlightenment

Northwest Europe at the top

Dead-end roads and relative backwardness in the peripheries

Three distinct peripheral macro-regions before World War I

Chapter 2. A radically changed world, yet unchanged regional division: Four regions in

Early-21st-century Europe

The 21st century: a dramatically changed world and Europe

Regionalization of the enlarged European Union

The other side of core-periphery relations: roads to catch-up

Four regions in early 21st century

The changing positions of some countries in an unchanged regional divide

Europe’s divided regions’ position in the world

Chapter 3. What preserves regional differences? The social, economic and cultural factors

The dialectic of change and continuity

Survival of micro-regional peripheral backwardness in advanced countries

Social-economic structural weaknesses of peripheral countries

Preserved peripheral social-cultural characteristics

Anti-capitalist mentalities, sharply divided societies, and lower levels of education

Weaknesses in entrepreneurship

Peripheral attitude towards the state and institutions

The black (or shadow) economy

Labor market and work ethic weaknesses

Epidemic corruption and tax evasion

Tendencies towards authoritarian-dictatorial power

Chapter 4. The most developed core of Europe: the Northwest

Europe’s superpower status and the North-West region

Reunified Germany in the driver’s seat

What factors have helped the reproduction of North-West preeminence in the 21st century?

The economic strength of North-West Europe

Technological revolution, the renewed energy system and de-industrialization

The service revolution and the financial sector

The strength of modern industries

The North-West: the biggest service provider

The 2008 financial crisis in North-West Europe

Moderate neo-liberal turn: weakening the welfare state and workers’ rights

Questionable stability of the North-West

Chapter 5. The Mediterranean-Irish region: catching-up with the West but burdened with remnants of a peripheral past

Middle-income peripheral level until the mid-twentieth century

The rise of Ireland and the Mediterranean

The Irish miracle

Catching up on the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean-Irish twenty-first-century credit-fueled consumption bubble

Financial-economic crisis hits the region hard

Chapter 6. Central Europe and the Baltics: trapped in middle-income periphery?

Belated and partial modernization: the historical background

The interwar fiasco

"Detour from the periphery to the periphery"

Crisis and collapse

Transformation to democratic market capitalism in new state formations

Recovery and development based on capital inflow: under the tutelage of the European Union

Crisis: major weaknesses surface after 2008

Chapter 7. The Russia-Turkey-Balkans low-income region: outside Europe?

The early twentieth century: the most backward periphery of Europe

A new opening to the European world, new states and regimes after World War I

Successes and failures in the interwar decades

Economic performance of the region during the interwar decades

New political environment and troubled history after World War II

Rapid growth and industrialization

Ambivalent modernization in Turkey

Reproduced backwardness in Russia and the Balkans

The Russia-Turkey-Balkan region and the European Union

Transformation: rising or declining relative income level? The twenty-first century



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Ivan T. Berend is a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the British Academy; the Academy of Europe; and the Austrian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Czech Academies of Sciences. He was president of the International Historical Association between 1995 and 2000 and is author of 35 books.


"This is a book to read for anyone who wants to understand the reason of regional differences, their historical reasons, and recent social-political consequences of the conflicts within Europe and including the crisis of the European Union." — László Valki, Professor of International Law, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest

"This comparative study is the successful and stimulating culmination of Professor Berend’s prolonged work on and contribution to our understanding of the forces that explain Europe’s recent past and economic experience. It will feed into and stimulate the vital debate about the idea and experience of ‘Europe.’" — Barry Supple, Emeritus Professor of Economic History, University of Cambridge.