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Why did massive social and economic development take place in Western Europe rather than in comparable advanced civilizations in early modern times? This issue, one of the most debated topics in modern social thought and historical scholarship, has obvious relevance to theories of social change and the problem of dynamism versus stagnation in the world today.In `Europe and the Rise of Capitalism' distinguished scholars from Britain and continental Europe seek to widen the traditional terms of the debate and broaden its scope with a collection of pieces ranging from comparative examinations of the situation in China, in Japan and in Islamic countries to a consideration of the uniqueness of the European modes of production. The book provides an essential contribution to a subject of pervasive interest to historians and sociologists.