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10 - Political Economy

from Part II - 1000 to 1800

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

“Political economy” is a Western term that carries its own, evolving ideological baggage. For John Stuart Mill, political economy was a science – that which “traces the laws of such of the phenomena of society as arise from the combined operations of mankind for the production of wealth, in so far as those phenomena are not modified by the pursuit of any other object.”1 Adam Smith used the word “science,” but meant what Mill would have called “art”: for him, “political oeconomy” could be “considered as a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator” and had as its objectives “enabl[ing]” the people to prosper through their own efforts and “supply[ing] the state or commonwealth” with means of payment for “the public services.”2 Smith takes us closer than Mill to what the authors mentioned in this chapter understood as their mission. It is not that Chinese writers were incapable of identifying infallibly observed regularities, but construction of a disciplinary edifice through the systematic “tracing” of such regularities in economic behavior was not a premodern Chinese project.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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References

Further Reading

Dunstan, Helen, Conflicting Counsels to Confuse the Age: A Documentary Study of Political Economy in Qing China, 1644–1840 (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, Center for Chinese Studies, 1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dunstan, Helen, “A Different Trajectory: Market-Consciousness in Chinese Political Economy, 800–1800,” Journal of Chinese History 4.1 (2020), 55–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dunstan, Helen, State or Merchant? Political Economy and Political Process in 1740s China (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Asia Center, 2006).Google ScholarPubMed
Elman, Benjamin and Kern, Martin (eds.), Statecraft and Classical Learning: The Rituals of Zhou in East Asian History (Leiden, Brill, 2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elvin, Mark and Ts’ui-jung, Liu (eds.), Sediments of Time: Environment and Society in Chinese History (New York, Cambridge University Press, 1998).Google Scholar
Wangling, Gao 高王凌, Huozhe de chuantong: Shiba shiji Zhongguo de jingji fazhan he zhengfu zhengce 活着的傳統: 十八世紀中國的經濟發展和政府政策 (Beijing, Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1995).Google Scholar
Hartwell, Robert M., “Historical Analogism, Public Policy, and Social Science in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century China,” American Historical Review 76.3 (1971), 690727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jichuang, Hu 胡寄窗, A Concise History of Chinese Economic Thought (Beijing, Foreign Languages Press, 2009).Google Scholar
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Hymes, Robert P. and Schirokauer, Conrad (eds.), Ordering the World: Approaches to State and Society in Sung Dynasty China (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1993).Google Scholar
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Huarui, Li 李華瑞, Songdai jiuhuang shi gao 宋代救荒史稿, 2 vols. (Tianjin, Tianjin guji chubanshe, 2014).Google Scholar
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Smith, Paul Jakov, Taxing Heaven’s Storehouse: Horses, Bureaucrats, and the Destruction of the Sichuan Tea Industry, 1074–1224 (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University, Council on East Asian Studies, 1991).Google Scholar
Song, Jaeyoon, Traces of Grand Peace: Classics and State Activism in Imperial China (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Asia Center, 2015).Google Scholar
von Glahn, Richard, Fountain of Fortune: Money and Monetary Policy in China, 1000–1700 (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Will, Pierre-Étienne, Bureaucracy and Famine in Eighteenth-Century China, trans. E. Forster (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1990).Google Scholar
Will, Pierre-Étienne, “Développement quantitatif et développement qualitatif en Chine à la fin de l’époque impériale,” Annales: Histoire, sciences sociales 49.4 (1994), 863902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Will, Pierre-Étienne and Wong, R. Bin, with Lee, James, Nourish the People: The State Civilian Granary System in China, 1650–1850 (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, Center for Chinese Studies, 1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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  • Political Economy
  • Edited by Debin Ma, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Richard von Glahn, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Book: The Cambridge Economic History of China
  • Online publication: 07 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108587334.012
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  • Political Economy
  • Edited by Debin Ma, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Richard von Glahn, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Book: The Cambridge Economic History of China
  • Online publication: 07 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108587334.012
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Political Economy
  • Edited by Debin Ma, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Richard von Glahn, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Book: The Cambridge Economic History of China
  • Online publication: 07 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108587334.012
Available formats
×