Economic History of Modern China (Priorities for Development Economics)

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9780415095679: Economic History of Modern China (Priorities for Development Economics)

Ever since the `giant awoke' there has been phonenemal interest in China's economy. Yet recent rates of growth have only served to emphasise the extent to which it had fallen behind ins Asian neighbours. This book provides an account of China's economic development from the middle of the C19th to the present day, and provides essential background to the latest economic superpower.

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About the Author:

Joseph C.H. Chai, Research Consultant, Research Grants Council, Hong Kong, China

Review:

This book is a remarkable tour de force. Joseph Chai offers a fine synthesis of thinking about the nature and origins of China's long-run economic growth and structural change. Through the meticulous use of an impressive range of sources, he explores some of the most challenging puzzles of China's economic history, such as its failure to match the modern industrial revolutions of Western Europe, or, closer to home, to rival Japan's economic transformation in the final decades of the nineteenth century. His definition of history is broad and his narrative extends down to the present day, thereby illuminating continuities and discontinuities across not only the historical divides of 1840 and 1911, but also those of 1949 and 1979. But despite its ambitious scope, Chai's analysis is authoritative, nuanced and full of detail. It will surely become necessary reading not only within the academic community of China scholars and students, but also among that even larger audience of readers seeking to understand the ''rise of China''. --Robert Ash, University of London, UK

For most people interested in the contemporary Chinese economy, the story begins with Deng Xiaoping's policy of Opening and Reform in 1978. This is especially true of students from China, where modern history is still taught in a simple, politically determined framework. This situation urgently needs remedying and Joseph Chai's new book is a valuable step in this direction. Chai surveys China's economic growth from the earliest times to the present day explaining the key turning points and the intellectual puzzles that arise in this long evolution. This book will be of interest to the general reader and will be valuable as a text book for students studying any aspect of China's current development and prospect. --Christopher Howe, University of London, UK

Joseph Chai places the recent phase of China's spectacular economic growth in its historical context in his well-researched, interesting and accessible overview of the economic history of China. Because no similar up-to-date book is available in English, English readers will find this book particularly welcome. Valuable attributes of his exposition include analyses of various economic puzzles (for example, why did China, which was once the world's economic leader, falter, suffer economic retardation, fall behind Europe and begin its economic resurgence later than Japan?) and his thoughtful considerations of the prospects for China's future economic growth. This book is highly recommended. --Clem Tisdell, The University of Queensland, Australia

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