|An extract of Bentley's essay commenting The European Miracle.|
In some ways it seems that a renewed and reformulated modernization analysis has recently begun to take shape in the works of scholars like E. L. Jones. In The European Miracle: Environments, Economies, and Geopolitics in the History of Europe and Asia, Jones offered a sophisticated comparative study examining European economic history in the light of other societies' experiences. He traced intensive economic growth largely to a liberal political environment: unlike the imperial states of China, India, and the Islamic world, he argued, the states of early modern Europe could not siphon the wealth generated by entrepreneurs and merchants in their lands. European states did not necessarily promote capitalism and economic growth, but they at least refrained from stifling it, so Jones argued.
In Growth Recurring: Economic Change in World History, Jones expanded the scope of his analysis by examining cases of intensive economic growth in Song China and Tokugawa Japan as well as industrial Europe. Far from being a uniquely Western phenomenon, then, intensive economic growth was a perfectly natural development when political authorities did not suffocate it. Like earlier modernization analysts, Jones emphasized conditions internal to a society as the most crucial for determining its economic development, and he placed the European experience squarely in global context by comparing it with those of other societies. At the same time, however, he avoided the ethnocentrism of earlier modernization analysts by focusing on economic growth as a historical phenomenon, rather than on Western experience as a model that other lands must follow in order to enjoy economic growth.