Lecture 10

Han chinese were enslaved lost their land and were

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Unformatted text preview: he population inland. Han Chinese were enslaved, lost their land, and were massacred (up to 800,000 some people claim in Yangzhou in 1645). James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and14, 2009 Analysis October Historical 7 / 19 The Revisionists This view has come under sustained attack by Bin Wong in his book China Transformed and Kenneth Pomeranz in The Great Divergence. Their basic argument is that circa 1750 there were few di¤erences in levels of income per-capita, life expectancy, etc. between Western Europe and China. In the pre-modern world, technologically creativity was never sustained so not a puzzle that it petered out after 1400 in China. They have marshalled a lot of evidence on issues such as: How rich was China in the 18th century? How was welfare? Did markets work and were they integrated? Was there access to capital? Was the government really predatory and despotic? Were property rights insecure? Were taxes high? James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and14, 2009 Analysis October Historical 8 / 19 The Evidence There certainly seems to have been a lot trade and market activity and the evidence does suggest that income per-capita was probably not so di¤erent. The Chinese state was also good at providing some types of public goods, for instance famine relief. Also taxes were low, maybe 5% of agricultural output for peasants (much less than European feudalism). They argue that institutions don’ really seem so di¤erent. But this is t a bit hard to swallow, also obvious that huge di¤erence in organization and objectives of the (e.g.) British and Chinese states. After 1688 the British state was heavily and aggressively involved in promoting trade and economic success (Navigat...
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This document was uploaded on 02/28/2014 for the course ECON 2328 at Harvard.

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