The Economic History of China

From Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century

by Richard von Glahn

China's extraordinary rise as an economic powerhouse in the past two decades poses a challenge to many long-held assumptions about the relationship between political institutions and economic development. Economic prosperity also was vitally important to the longevity of the Chinese Empire throughout the preindustrial era. Before the eighteenth century, China's economy shared some of the features, such as highly productive agriculture and sophisticated markets, found in the most advanced regions of Europe. But in many respects, from the central importance of irrigated rice farming to family structure, property rights, the status of merchants, the monetary system, and the imperial state's fiscal and economic policies, China's preindustrial economy diverged from the Western path of development. In this comprehensive but accessible study, Richard von Glahn examines the institutional foundations, continuities and discontinuities in China's economic development over three millennia, from the Bronze Age to the early twentieth century.
  • Cambridge University Press; March 2016
  • ISBN: 9781316540572
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: The Economic History of China
  • Author: Richard von Glahn
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

'This book promises to be the most timely and ambitious scholarly attempt to construct a new historical narrative of the Chinese past that provides a reliable foundation to comprehend China today. What makes Professor von Glahn's new story cogent and path-breaking is the solid scholarship in theory and historiography that is always a hallmark of his works.' Billy Kee-long So, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology