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Bergen Summer Research School

Open Lecture @ BSRS 2017

Water Management, Development Trajectories and the Modern World

Why was Western Europe, and not other areas of the world, first to develop a market economy and an industrial economy?

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Crane and building

Terje Tvedt
Professor at Department of Geograpy
University of Bergen

Discussant
Tore Sætersdal
Assistant Director, UiB Global

Global history has long centred on the comparative economic successes and failures of different parts of the world, most often European versus Asian regions. There is general agreement that the balance changed definitely during the later eighteenth century, when in Europe and Great Britain a transformation began that revolutionised the power relations of the world and brought the dominance of agrarian civilisation to an end.

However, there is still widespread debate as to why Europe and Britain were the first to industrialise, rather than Asia.

This lecture will discuss an explanation that will shed new light on their success, by showing that analysis of the relationship between societies and water is a crucial piece that is missing from existing historical accounts of the Rise of the Modern World and thus from the understanding of our current world.

The lecture is part of the Bergen Summer Research School and is open to the public.

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