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China’s Long-Term Economic Development

How Have Economy and Governance Evolved since 500 BC?

Hongjun Zhao

This book examines the evolution of Chinese governmental governance and its long-lasting impact on Chinese economic development, firstly by examining the formation of Chinese style governance, the core contents of this governance and its vitality compared to other governance patterns in Chinese history. Secondly, this book discusses the effectiveness of this governance in supporting economic development before the Song dynasty and its failure in serving economic development during the past three to five centuries. Ultimately, Hongjun Zhao predicts the direction Chinese governance will take in the next 20 years.
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Chapter 2: Debate and comment about the Needham puzzle over the past half-century

Hongjun Zhao

Extract

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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