Gunder Frank debates David Landes on world economic history

Written by: Stephen Hsu

Primary Source:  Information Processing

Gunder Frank debates David Landes on world economic history

This C-SPAN video captures two hours of debate between Gunder Frank (ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age) and David Landes (The Wealth and Poverty of Nations), which took place at Northeastern University in 1998. Frank and Landes were on opposite sides of a debate over deep economic history, the rise of the West, and globalization.

The debate is a bit tedious but at least one gets a sense of the main points of contention between Frank and Landes. (I was already familiar with both of their positions.) I knew Landes a bit because he was a Senior Fellow when I was a Junior Fellow at Harvard. We dined together on many occasions. If memory serves, he even asked my opinion on some of these issues, perhaps because I was a scientist with broad interests, and of Asian heritage. In those conversations he was much less antagonistic with me than with Frank :-)

Some relevant links from this blog: China 1793, Koxinga, the Needham question.

This is just a screenshot, as I can’t embed the video here:

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Stephen Hsu
Stephen Hsu is vice president for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University. He also serves as scientific adviser to BGI (formerly Beijing Genomics Institute) and as a member of its Cognitive Genomics Lab. Hsu’s primary work has been in applications of quantum field theory, particularly to problems in quantum chromodynamics, dark energy, black holes, entropy bounds, and particle physics beyond the standard model. He has also made contributions to genomics and bioinformatics, the theory of modern finance, and in encryption and information security. Founder of two Silicon Valley companies—SafeWeb, a pioneer in SSL VPN (Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Networks) appliances, which was acquired by Symantec in 2003, and Robot Genius Inc., which developed anti-malware technologies—Hsu has given invited research seminars and colloquia at leading research universities and laboratories around the world.