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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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Hongjun Zhao


My thanks are due to many people for their support and help, without whom the completion of this book would not have been possible. I first thank my post-doctoral supervisor, Professor Guoqiang Tian. I had not known him before applying for a post-doctoral research position at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE), but I wanted to work with him in order to learn from his specialized knowledge in economics and mathematics. I benefited a great deal from Professor Tian’s guidance every time we met. He told me that the quality of a post-doctoral study is more important than its quantity. One paper is suitable for a post-doctoral study if its quality is good enough. Further, he once told me that it was very important to publish papers in the top journals in order to promote one’s work. He also advised that I should not be in a hurry to reach my goal at one stroke because one great goal requires patience and time. Indeed, I still remember that Professor Tian criticized me because I withdrew a paper from one of the best economic journals in China only because it was too slow to publish my work. All of the professor’s comments still benefit me now.

My thanks are also due to Professor James Wen Guanzhong. He is an economic expert on Chinese urban, countryside, and peasant problems, as well as on the Needham puzzle in the field of sociology, history, and economic history. He has read...

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