China to 1842

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Traditional and Revisionist Historiography
North Atlantic pattern of development, Industrial Revolution was a sharp break with the "premodern" world, radical discontinuity, technological breakthroughs were key
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What was China's experience of the global economy under Ming?
Largest economy and pop. of 150m in 1600; Needham: 300 million taels worth of silver; Last Golden Age
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What was China's experience of the global economy under Xing?
"Great Divergence"; hai jin; Canton System 1557-1842
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China's economy today?
Largest trading country; Xi Jinping "Chinese Dream" & two 100s
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Who coined the term "The Great Divergence"?
Samuel Huntington; NW Europe overcame premodern growth constraints and emerged as wealthiest powers in the world
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What's the Needham Puzzle?
Why the Ind Rev did not originate in China?
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Mark Elvin's "High Equilibrium Trap" (Stanford, 1973)
Prime barrier to Chinese industrialisation was the unfavourable man-to-land ratio; equilibrium point where supply/demand were balanced; production methods & trade networks so efficient; labour so abundant & cheap
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Mark Elvin's "High Equilibrium Trap" (Stanford, 1973) 2
Investment in capital to improve efficiency was unnecessary and probably unprofitable
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Mark Elvin's "High Equilibrium Trap" (Stanford, 1973) 3
Combination of low labour costs & low level modern technology =
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Mark Elvin's "High Equilibrium Trap" (Stanford, 1973) 4
No need to innovate technology to increase efficiency/raise upper limit of production
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Thomas Kuhn's "Paradigm Shift"
Daoism-Confucianism moved the focus of inquiry from natural science to morality. Confucianism wasn't conducive to technological innovation.
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Thomas Kuhn's "Paradigm Shift" 2
In Britain, enlightenment shifted study of natural sciences when wages were high, economy was small, & internal trade network much weaker. Need for innovation.
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Justin Yifu Lin, former Chief Economist at the World Bank
No Scientific Revolution because civil service exams and criteria for promotion relied on philosophy, not innovation or practicality
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Justin Yifu Lin 2
"The probability of making a transition from primitive science to premodern science was reduced."
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Revisionist Phillip Huang (Stanford, 1990)
"Growth without development", peasants were driven by "subsistence imperative", not profit maximisation
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Phillip Huang (Stanford, 1990) 2
No escape from decreasingly profitable farms except to practice cottage industries e.g. carpentry or cotton weaving, entrenching in the Malthusian Trap
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Revisionist Kenneth Pommeranz: Is there an East Asian Development Path?
Development patters in core regions of Europe & East Aia were similar until almost 1800, exceptional resource bonanzas shaped Europe's divergence
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Jan DeVries "industrious revolution" in Europe
Change in labour and consumer behaviour - grain-buying power decreased 1430-1550, while possessions increased. New trends: specialisation & goods for market, longer hours, income & new possessions
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Pomeranz: "industrious revolution" nutritional standards
Rice-buying power decreased from 1100 but nutritional standards remained/grew. Caloric intake in China compares well with most prosperous parts of China.
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Pomeranz: "industrious revolution" life expectancy
Nutritional parity or better is suggested by life expectancies which are comparable to those of Europe as late as 1800
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Pomeranz: "industrious revolution" life expectancy 1750-1800
Guangdong, S. China Sea: 35; Liaoning, NE: 43; England: 36; Germany: 36; Northern Italy: 30; Geneva: 47
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Pommeranz: Higher consumption in China
P.c. consumption of tea, silk & cloth was higher in 1750 in China than in Europe by 1800
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Pommeranz: Sugar consumption in China in 1750
Europe: 2.2lb; Britain: 10lb; China: 4.4lb; Lower Yangzi: 10lb
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Pommeranz: Sugar consumption in China in 1750
Europe: 2.6lb; Britain: 18lb
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Pommeranz: China decline from 1750
Production, consumption & specialisation all jumped in Europe, while in China p.c. non-grain consumption declined. 20c figures for cloth & sugar below most conservative estimates for 1750
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Pommeranz: What happened?
(1) Ecological differences; (2) New World = relaxed land constraints
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Pommeranz: (1) Ecological Differences in 1750
No clear advantage for wood supply; China used land & fuel as intensively. One difference was British-led transition to fossil fuels
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Pommeranz: Fossil Fuels
In China landlocked coal regions were too remote to economically viable without trains. In England, coal was conveniently located to rich, fuel-hungry markets and concentrations of skilled artisans.
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Pommeranz: Fossil Fuels 2
Skilled labour was crucial to development of steam engine, which revolutionised prod. & transport
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Pommeranz: (2) New World
West benefitted from imports as pop. growth demanded growth of Malthus' 4 necessities (food, fibre, fuel & building materials)
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Pommeranz: New World 2
Growth of land-intensive imports allowed England to steadily specialise in manufacturing and commerce. Technology allowed Agric. Rev. release of labour yet constant output
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Pommeranz: New World 3
In China, growing pop. while land filled up. Imported manufactures e.g. textiles evaded domestic manufacturing, causing staple export to plateau & decline. Possibilities for further growth in core regions were limited.
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Pommeranz: Ecological Differences + New World = Relaxed land constraints
Coal and new world imports allowed NW Europe to use increased supply of primary goods without price rise.
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Pommeranz: Relaxed land constraints
Paradox of Agric. Rev: yields per acre were flat but more people were fed because increased food production, while not increased agric. production
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What was China's experience of the global economy under Ming?

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Largest economy and pop. of 150m in 1600; Needham: 300 million taels worth of silver; Last Golden Age

Card 3

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What was China's experience of the global economy under Xing?

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Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

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China's economy today?

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Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

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Who coined the term "The Great Divergence"?

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