Monday 22 December 2008

China's Economy: An Historical Perspective

Pacific Economic Review has a series of interesting papers in its most recent issue that consider historical perspectives on Chinese growth.

It is often useful for so called mainstream neoclassical economists to get a broader historical view on China when examining the current situation.

All abstracts and papers can be viewed by clicking below:

Pacific Economic Review

"Transformations of China's Post-1949 Political Economy in an Historical Perspective"

Pacific Economic Review, Vol. 13, Issue 3, pp. 291-307, August 2008


This article lays out three different historical perspectives on China's post-1978 economic reform era. It argues that historical perspectives allow us to apprehend features of the Chinese economy as they are formed in particular moments and contexts at the same time as we can appreciate the ways in which the possibilities conceived and achieved both affirm certain past practices and reject others. Without such vantage points it is more difficult to explain the manner in which China's economy has changed in the past 30 years.

"Born Again: Globalization's Sixteenth Century Origins (Asian/Global Versus European Dynamics)"

Pacific Economic Review, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 359-387, August 2008


Globalization began when all heavily populated land masses began interacting - both directly and indirectly via other land masses - in a sustained manner with deep consequences for all interacting regions. Globalization emerged during the sixteenth century. Dynamism emanating from within China played a pivotal role. Valid hypotheses concerning globalization's emergence must accommodate evidence from numerous disciplinary debates. Discussion of globalization's birth in terms of economic issues alone - for example, O'Rourke and Williamson's price convergence of the 1820s - is doomed. The central role of economic history - including Chinese economic history becomes salient when arguments are formulated in the context of a multidisciplinary, global historical narrative.

"Miracle or Mirage? Foreign Silver, China's Economy and Globalization from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries"

Pacific Economic Review, Vol. 13, Issue 3, pp. 320-357, August 2008

KENT DENG, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History

MingQing China has been seen as positioned at the very centre of the process of early globalization partly due to China's huge appetite for foreign silver for its own commercialization. The findings of this study challenge this view head on by showing that not only did China not import and use nearly as much foreign silver as commonly imagined, silver moved into and also out of China. It served at best as a secondary currency and often worked on a barter basis. The sector which retained the lion's share was the pawnshop for short-term credit mainly for consumption.

"Chinese Economic History in a New Perspective: Focusing on the Late Imperial Rural Economy in Jiangnan"

Pacific Economic Review, Vol. 13, Issue 3, pp. 308-319, August 2008

BOZHONG LI, Tsinghua University

The Eurocentric growth model has been the basic workhorse for numerous Chinese economic historians. This deep seated Eurocentric paradigm is concerned mainly with conterfactuals and tends to ignore past reality. To illustrate the problems of this Eurocentric approach, this paper examines the rural economy of Jiangnan, also known as the Yangzi Delta, during late imperial times. A main characteristic of the villages in the Wuxi county in Jiangnan were the mixture of the ruralurban lifestyle and development. Jiangnan's developmental patterns, in the Song and the Qing dynasty, from the Maoist period (pre-1979) to post-1979 development, contrast sharply with the predictions of the Western development models.


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