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Then there is Karl Wittfogel’ notion of Oriental Despotism – large
public works, such as irrigation along the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers
create despotic states that throttle change.
Not obvious that any of these ideas are useful. The puzzle is why
China was very dynamic technologically for a long time, and then
Also Mokyr points out how central the state was in stimulating
innovation. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and14, 2009 Analysis
5 / 19 The Traditional View Mokyr develops a traditional view of Chinese stasis after 1400 which I
…nd very persuasive. The argument is that the Imperial state was
more interested in political stability than promoting economic
The famous inter-oceanic voyages were stopped and the ships rotted
after the famous exploits of Admiral Zheng between 1405 to 1433.
After this international trade as often banned.
Notable that at the start of each dynasty there were many regulations
meant to restrict trade etc. e.g. …rst Ming Emperor the Hongwu
Emperor between 1368-1398. Also the …rst Qing Emperors. Even if
these policies were often reversed, this must not have been good for
economic incentives. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and14, 2009 Analysis
6 / 19 A treasure ship of Zheng He was several times
larger than Christopher Columbus's Santa María. The Traditional View Qing Dynasty after 1616 were Manchu’ with an even more precarious
grip on the imperial throne. There was non-stop warfare until 1682.
From 1652 onwards the policy of ‘
clearing the shoreline’was
implemented which implied destroying all coastal towns and
settlements and moving t...
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This document was uploaded on 02/28/2014 for the course ECON 2328 at Harvard.
- Fall '09