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Our oldest solid evidence of routine banking in the West comes from Hammurabi's code, which includes specific banking regulations. If you don't like that interpretation of "West" the Greeks had banks and Delos was a major banking center in the 3rd century BC, making it the first international banking center of note. Europe had been using paper money since approximately 1660. The lag in uptake was directly related to the fact that Europe had much more international trade, requiring a currency whose value was not dependent on "full faith and credit" and could be redeemed regardless of the international situation, making gold a staple. Of course, the US operated primarily on paper currency during the colonial period, issuing commodity notes, particularly tobacco notes in Virginia, due to restrictions on the transfer of silver to the New World. China, meanwhile, had ended paper money in 1455 due to hyperinflation.
By 1820, Chinese philosophy had been in stagnation for roughly 600 years and, arguably, had stopped producing major innovations far earlier. Western philosophy, along with Western science, is considered to have begun with Thales around 600 BC (born 625 BC) and has continued in an unbroken tradition ever since.
As to foods, I'm not a historian of foodstuffs so much, but I seriously doubt that European food was bad in 1820, especially since I know there are a number of staples which date to the middle ages.
Finally, Europe created more powerful weapons to fight other Europeans or to fight Muslims during the Crusades (recall, please, that Europeans saw the Muslims as invaders in Christian territory, etc.).