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Week 6 Reading Growth, Institutions And Knowledge (Ma, 2004) Notes

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EH207: Reading - Growth, Institutions and Knowledge: A Review and Reflection on the Historiography of 18th to 20th Century China (Ma, 2004)

Growth, Insttutons and Knowledge: A Review and Refecton on the Historiography of 18 th to 20th Century China (Ma, 2004) Introducton

Ma explores the revisionist thesis of economic growth in China during the 18 th and 19th centuries "To understand the path of long-term economic growth or stagnation in China, we need to go beyond the study of resource endowments or technologies, to also incorporate an economic analysis of China's traditional social and political institutions and their associated ideologies" Debate is centred around the California school revisionist thesis on the 18 th century Chinese economy Rawski and Li's Chinese History in Economic Perspective (1992) was the last economic history series o Since then, the history of China has vanished in economic studies on China Understanding both institutions and history are important for understanding long-term economic growth in China California school of thought: Pomeranz, James Lee, Bozhong Li, Bin Wong o http://eh.net/lists/archives/eh.res/ - 'Rethinking 18th Century China'

Chinese Economy In the 18th and 19th Centuries: A Revisionist View

Needham puzzle: why given scientific and technological leadership up until the 14th century did the Scientific Revolution forget China?
1970s (Elvin et al.): why given the unmatched superiority of Chinese technology and institutions in the Southern Song (1126-1278), industrial revolution did not take place in Chinese?
Bozhong Li, critically examines the 'sprouts of capitalism' literature o This literature assumed economic development in China should follow that of the European model as the universal standard o Li challenged the Song or Southern Song economic revolution that was argued by Elvin et al.
 He argued their thesis was based on biased and selective evidence
 Champ rice variety, argued by Elvin as being part of the Song economic revolution, appeared in the Song, but Li argues it was diffused during the Ming and Qing o There was a rise of dynamic, diverse and commercialized printing industry
 Evidence of mass reading public in the Lower Yangzi o There was indisputable industrial progress between 1550-1850
 Scale and technology of production
 Organisation structure
 Extent of the division of labour

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