Alexander Gerschenkron was a Ukrainian-born American economic . In , Gerschenkron wrote an essay Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective, a cornerstone of his career, and of. C. P. KINDLEBERGER. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective: A Book of Essays. By A. GERSCHENKRON. Alexander Gerschenkron, Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective: A Book of Essays. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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They also obtained a father figure whom they desperately sought to imitate in their own scholarship and subsequent teaching.

Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective: A Book of Essays

For others, his approach has often proved a useful starting point for the historical discussion of other parts of the world, such as Henry Rosovsky did with Japan, and others, elsewhere. In other words, expenditure patterns change in response to changes in relative prices because consumers switch their expenditure towards relatively cheap products.

There he rapidly learned German, as well as Latin, enabling him to attempt to pass the entrance examination for secondary school within seven months. He fled the Bolshevik Revolution with his father inapparently bound for Paris, but wound up in Vienna instead. Please read our Copyright Information page for important copyright information.

He was an extraordinary scholar and personas his biography fully details. InGerschenkron wrote an essay Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspectivea cornerstone of his career, and of significance to European economic history.

Suddenly recommitted perspectiev study, he overcame his initial lapse, and graduated with his class. There were no equivalent stages of economic growth in all participants. Rare is the sophisticated course in political economy that does not assign his model of relative backwardness as economiic required reading.


From Habsburg to Hitler. He did well, advancing to head of the International Section, until the decisive moment came in He was a Professor of Economics at Harvard for about 25 years. His seminar then, and the availability of fellowship support, attracted several Harvard students, and even some from neighboring MIT, to work in the field.

The finished Gulick book, Austria from Habsburg to Hitlera two-volume work, published in Berkeley: This page was last edited on 27 Decemberat But they are implicit in his efforts to pose the advantages of backwardness. Retrieved 16 April Rapid Soviet growth was not constructed on the basis of false statistics, but rather, inappropriate technique.

It rejected the English Industrial Revolution as the normal pattern of industrial development and deprived the original accumulation of capital of its central force in determining subsequent expansion.

Gerschenkron was known as an extremely bright scholar. Harvard offered him a position as a tenured professor, the successor to Abbot Payson Usher. The considerable appeal of the Gerschenkron model derives not only from its logical and consistent ordering of the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century European experience.

In addition to his vast knowledge of economic history, he also studied literature. Gerschenkron himself frequently knew little of the economic theory or statistical techniques proposed.

Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective — Alexander Gerschenkron | Harvard University Press

It is the opening chapter of that volume, and a significant reason that it was recently selected as one of the most influential works of economic history ever published. Also, the more coercive and comprehensive were the measures required to reduce domestic consumption and allow national saving.


They introduced a new era of increased agricultural protection, which once again favored the peasants and Junkers.

Even the recent pause, requiring massive assistance from the IMF and extensive domestic restructuring, has come off with barely a temporary decline. Perspcetive Economic Backwardness His present reputation comes instead from his dedication to European economic history.

His third great contribution came through his students.

Alexander Gerschenkron

Those specific cases, in turn, bolstered his advocacy of a comparative, all-encompassing European structure. This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve.

Rarer still is the doctoral student in economic history who remains uninfluenced by his beguiling hypotheses about the process of historical change within Europe since the Industrial Revolution.

Charles Gulicka professor at the University of California, Berkeleyinvited Gerschenkron to be his research assistant.

A quick measure of his current influence is the almost Google references that turn up with the entry of his name. That accounted for its earlier attention, where the conditional nature of its predictions contrasted strongly with its Marxist and Rostovian alternatives. He flourished as the doyen of economic history in the United States.