How Have Economy and Governance Evolved since 500 BC?
Chapter 2: Debate and comment about the Needham puzzle over the past half-century
This chapter provides a literature review of the reasons why China developed earlier than Europe before 1400 but became backward gradually after 1500, which was broadly defined as the so-called Needham puzzle. The author reviews the most relevant literatures in economics, sociology, history, political science, philosophy, and so on, comparing their hypotheses and arguments, indicating the methodological biases in the different disciplines, putting forward the criteria of analysis of the Needham puzzle, and selecting some new hypotheses that economists can use to analyse the long-term economic development of China during the past thousand years.
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