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5 - Economic Philosophy and Political Economy

from Part I - Before 1000

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2022

Debin Ma
Affiliation:
Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo
Richard von Glahn
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
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Summary

The genesis of Chinese political economy can be traced to the Warring States era (453–221 bce), which was marked on one hand by rapid economic progress (the spread of iron metallurgy, advances in agricultural productivity, the invention of coinage, and the emergence of a private merchant class) and on the other hand by the rise of autocratic states (accompanied by the centralization of political power and mass mobilization for war). The economic principles and policies that later shaped the formation of the first unified empires – what I will designate the militarist–physiocratic state – were enunciated by leading ministers of the most successful autocratic states, such as Li Kui in Wei and Shang Yang in Qin, and set down in works such as The Book of Lord Shang and Han Fei Zi.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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