By Katrina Hamlin
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.
Italy's lower house approved Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's tax-cutting 2015 budget on Sunday. It will now move on to the Senate, where it must be passed by the end of the year. The budget is at the centre of a tussle with the European Commission, which says it does not do enough to reduce the country's huge public debt.
The Great Divergence is a term coined by economic historians to explain the sudden acceleration of growth and technology in Europe from the 16th century onward, while other civilizations such as China, India, Japan and Persia remained in their pre-modern state. This phrase has recently acquired a very different meaning, however, more relevant to global economic and financial conditions today.