Catalogue


State or merchant? : political economy and political process in 1740s China /
Helen Dunstan.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Asia Center, 2006.
description
xv, 523 p. : ill., map ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0674022629 (cl : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Asia Center, 2006.
isbn
0674022629 (cl : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6058717
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2007-03-01:
Stanford political scientists Lewis and Xue provide an overview of Chinese strategic thinking and the evolution of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) since 1949. The authors argue that PLA organization and mission were affected profoundly by border clashes with the Soviets in 1969 and by the failed war with Vietnam in 1979. In recent decades, the possibility of conflict over the status of Taiwan overwhelmingly shaped strategic planning, although the military's status has declined in an environment of rapid commercial and industrial growth. The authors are established authorities on Chinese military history, and this book draws on their extensive research and interviews in China and abroad. The bulk of the book focuses on technical issues, with chapters on command structures, communication technology, missile capabilities, and the air force. However, these are clearly written and demand no special expertise to understand. The emphasis on possible conflict over Taiwan leads the authors to ignore other significant contemporary issues, most obviously Chinese military preparations to deal with the nuclear buildup in North Korea. Nevertheless, this is a very valuable study that deserves to be widely read. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. K. E. Stapleton University of Kentucky
Reviews
Review Quotes
[T]his masterfully crafted book deserves a prominent position in both the political and economic histories of late imperial China.
Dunstan brings to life the fascinating story of the domestic Chinese grain trade during the 1740s, in particular the imperial state's attempt to control the buying and storing of grain in granaries throughout the country for the purpose of grain price stabilization and famine prevention. Her excellent, well-written analysis rests on the careful reading of a vast amount of archival documents written by Qing dynasty officials, and it invites the reader 'to spend time with them' in order to understand the thoughts, complex decision-making processes, and actions of Confucian bureaucrats. Dunstan's book approaches the problem of the state's role in the grain trade from the viewpoint of Chinese intellectual and political history but also addresses issues of interest to economic historians. Her study focuses on government actions against hoarders and the surprisingly challenging debate within the imperial bureaucracy about the state's policy of stockpiling grain and interference in the market. However, as the author convincingly argues, changing fiscal and militaristic priorities of the Qianlong emperor, rather than the decision to trust the market, were the reasons behind the decrease in state famine relief in mid-18th-century China.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, March 2007
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Summaries
Main Description
What did it mean to run a large, commercialized agrarian polity according to the best Confucian principles? This book is intended as a contribution to both intellectual and political history. It is partly a study of how Confucian-trained officials thought about the grain trade and the state's role in it, particularly the "ever-normal granaries," the stockpiles of grain maintained by every county government as protection against shortages and high prices. The author investigates the scope and limits of belief in market forces among those critical of government intervention, establishing that rudimentary economic arguments for state withdrawal from the grain trade were available by 1750. She then explores challenges, from within the ruling apparatus, to the state's claim that its own stockpiling served the public interest, as well as the factors behind decisions in the mid- and late 1740s to suspend or decrease state purchases of grain. As a study of Confucian government in action, this book describes a mode of public policy discussion far less dominated by the Confucian scriptures than one might expect. As a contribution to intellectual history, the work offers a detailed view of members of an ostensibly Confucian government pursuing divergent agendas around the question of "state or merchant?"
Bowker Data Service Summary
What did it mean to run a large, commercialized agrarian polity according to the best Confucian principles? The author investigates the scope and limits of belief in market forces among those critical of government intervention, establishing that economic arguments for state withdrawal from the grain trade were available by 1750.
Table of Contents
Tables, Maps, Figures
Weights, Measures, and Unites of Currency
Abbreviations and Citation Conventions
Introduction
Private-Sector Stockpiling: State Versus Hoarder
Legal Ambiguity, Coercive Practice
The Subtler Ways of Handling Hoarders
Interventionism Questioned
Public-Sector Stockpiling: The State As Hoarder?
The Issues in the Ever-Normal Granaries Debate
A Sage and His Advisors: 1738-43
Overt and Covert: 1744-47
The Grand Discussion: 1748-49
The Slashing of the Targets
Of Loose Ends and Parallel Developments
Conclusion: Political Economy or Political Process?
Appendix: Chronology of the Granaries Debate
Bibliography
Character List
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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