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
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
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
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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- Fall '09
- Industrial Revolution, JAMES A. ROBINSON