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Global Economic History

Global Economic History Book Review: CHINA TRANSFORMED: Author: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience
Global Economic History Book Review: CHINA TRANSFORMED: Author: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience
Global Economic History Book Review: CHINA TRANSFORMED: Author: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience

Book Review:

CHINA TRANSFORMED:

Author:

Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience Roy Bin Wong

Publisher:

Cornell University Press, 1997

Book Review by Nicolaus Shombe (PHD14407)

November 2014

OUTLINE

General Summary of the Book

Economic History

Agrarian to Industrialization

Political Comparison

State formation Ideology and Institutional resources

Social Protest and Revolutions

OUTLINE • General Summary of the Book • Economic History – Agrarian to Industrialization • Political

General Summary

Historical transformation of China V/S Historical pattern of development of Early Modern Europe.

The history of development of Western Europe has been considered as global

history

Patterns of historical change which include similarities and differences of economic development and theories of industrialization such as Malthus theory and Smithian theory.

Comparing State Formation and Transformation

Similarities and Differences between Politics, Protests and Social Change in China and Europe

Economic History

China between 10th 12th Centuries had society with urban culture which engaged in expanding commercial economy.

Chinese could produce surplus for trading trajectory.

• China between 10th – 12th Centuries had society with urban culture which engaged in expanding

same path of Early European development

In comparing Economic history and problems of development between China and Europe, Chinese peasants’ economic undertakings were similar in fundamental and important to those of Europe

Both early modern Europe and late imperial China shared Smithian economic growth dynamics,

Major changes in China began in the area of central China (near Shanghai) where there were improvement of productivity in the agriculture.

The same pattern of growth was observed in Europe which is considered to be Adam Smith growth path in which division of labor and specialization led to development in Europe.

Smithian growth → productivity in agriculture →surplus production → expansion of trade which is prerequisite condition for the increase in division of labor and labor specialization in production and trading.

Economic History

There was an increase in cash cropping and hand craft activities in different parts of Chinese empire between the 16th 18th C especially in Yangzi delta and Pearl river delta

Apart from products market, the factor market also emerged in Yangzi River where there were land market for rental and sales also Labor market developed for both Long

Term and Short Term labor.

Textile formed a major rural hand craft centers similar to Europe especially in Jiangsu and Zhejing provinces villages where increases number of peasants began to turn either to cotton yarn and cloth production or silk weaving during 16th C.

both Europe and China experienced cycle of economic growth and contractions which led to the division of labor and comparative advantage through the market. In the cause of population growth, the Black Death occurred in 14th C reduced

population . In China also in 17th C and 19 th C, rebellions, natural disasters, general crisis of economic, social and political difficulties happened which is similar to the

Malthusian check

The author insisted that similarities between Europe and China continued until just before Industrial revolution

State Formation and Transformation

During the time of the Roman Empire both Europe and China had roughly similar (agrarian empire) formations, but while China sustained that state formation and the idea of a unified polity until the 20thC, Europe experienced disintegration

After collapse of Roman Empire Europe never again had an imperial political formation of any

great size with the capacity to exercise centralize control over its territories.

Both European states and the Chinese empire faced different challenges, claims, and commitments, and they did so in different ways

Chinese expanded its empire through combination of morality, material, and coercive means with principal goal in achieving stability

European dynamics of imperial expansion embraced commercial, political and military

Chinese political economy was intended to capture the benefits of expanded production and exchange through policies that increased production and stabilized trade

The crucial distinction between China and Europe: political economies was greater adaptability of Europe to industrial possibilities.

State Formation and Transformation

European state lacks institutional strategies to promote social order

European rulers competed with institutionally distinct and powerful aristocracies, cleric and urban elite In China the emperor worked to develop sustainable bureaucracy

while in Europe warfare among European rulers to expand their

power

Domestic order in China involved both rural and urban while in

Europe is urban area

Institutions and Taxation

States function is raising revenue, guarding threats against external enemies, assuring domestic social stability

China Taxation agriculture taxation at low rate for provision of services and welfare of the people

Institutional Land was allotted by state so that peasants could pay tax to support the state

State coordinated food supply as governments policy to coordinate welfare

Used society to maintain peace and stability

House hold records for land, taxes and prevention of crimes

Use of extended kinship networks organized in cooperate fashion to reproduce social order

Raising revenue

China and Europe had different revenue mobilization strategies

In Europe state makers competed with other power holders (nobles, clerics and merchants) to redefine and expand there

claims on resources

In China had system of taxation which was modest and steady

In Europe borrowed loans against future revenue

Chines relied on commercial tax and agriculture land

Chines did not borrow but used its surplus in merchants to earn interest rate.

Social Protest and Revolutions

Grain seizures

Tax resistance

Revolutions in China and Europe- France.

1789 to 1799 during which France went from a monarchy ruled

by King Louis XVI to a republic ruled by the people

Chinese Communist Revolution collapse in Qing dynasty in 1911 created political crisis

Social Protest and Revolutions • Grain seizures • Tax resistance • Revolutions in China and Europe-

The China After 1850

Invasion by foreign

Fought war increase revenue

Military strategized in the cost resources were allocated in this area

1911 1949 State rebuilding and Nationalism in 20 th Century - local capacity were expanded Anti-Japanese war (1937 -45) - Nationalism and establishment of People’s Republic off China in 1949

China After 1949

Communist inherited 1949 economy with modest industrial base

Socialist country investment decision is done by state (what to produce and how much to produce)

State Bureaucracy

Cadres system

Unitary state with effective rule over the entire country

China managed to continue united because it had no corporate groups, no elite

with their own bas power and authority

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