Late Imperial Economy, 960–1895

Tim Wright

in Chinese Studies

ISBN: 9780199920082
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:
Late Imperial Economy, 960–1895

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • East Asian Studies
  • Asian History
  • East Asian Philosophy
  • East Asian Religions


Show Summary Details


Although for most purposes “late imperial China” refers to the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911), many scholars believe that key aspects of China’s late imperial economy came into existence as a result of a series of changes that began in the late Tang dynasty and culminated during the Song dynasty, known as the “Tang-Song transformation.” While these changes included, for example, the growth of markets, they were by no means limited to—or even mainly related to—economic history but included political changes, such as those in the nature of the elite. Without prejudging the issue, this bibliography covers the whole period from the establishment of the Song dynasty to the first Sino-Japanese War, after which railways and economic modernization began to change the Chinese economy. The old stereotype of premodern China as unchanging and economically stagnant has long been discarded, and scholars recognize that China had a dynamic and successful economy that managed to feed a growing population and developed a range of sophisticated institutions. The stereotype is now being turned on its head, and many are asking whether as late as the 18th century at least parts of China were as prosperous and as advanced as western Europe, whether Chinese commercial and legal institutions were as accommodating of economic growth as those in Europe, and, as a result, how one can explain the “great divergence” that took place between Europe and the rest of the world from (in this view) the early 19th century. A further underlying issue is to what extent models based on the European experience can be used to understand or explain development patterns in China. The most notable example of trying to force Chinese development into a European framework was of course Marxist stage theory. But more recently there has been a wider rejection of “Eurocentric” theories and models of development that are based on the European experience coupled with attempts to develop more distinctively Chinese—or Asian—models.

Article.  19299 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Studies ; Asian History ; East Asian Philosophy ; East Asian Religions

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.