The upheavals of recent decades show us that traditional models of understanding processes of social and economic change are failing to capture real-world risk and volatility. This has resulted in flawed policy that seeks to capture change in terms of the rise or decline of regimes or regions. In order to comprehend current events, understand future risks and decide how to prepare for them, we need to consider economies and social orders as open, complex networks. This highly original work uses the tools of network analysis to understand great transitions in history, particularly those concerning economic development and globalisation. Hilton L. Root shifts attention away from particular agents - whether individuals, groups, nations or policy interventions - and toward their dynamic interactions. Applying insights from complexity science to often overlooked variables across European and Chinese history, he explores the implications of China's unique trajectory and ascendency, as a competitor and counterexample to the West.