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《Historical Research》 2003-04
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Late Imperial Jiangnan in World Economic History: Comparative and Integrative ——A Discussion with Professor Philip Huang

Kenneth Pomeranz  
This article corrects a number of errors in a critique of The Great Divergence published by Philip Huang in a previous issue of this journal, while also moving beyond that book. It develops new estimates of labor productivity and worker incomes in Jiangnans agricultural and textile sectors, and compares them with England at the same time; the results fully confirm the arguments made (based on other evidence) in the book. It also reinforces the books arguments about the role of women in craft production and the household economy in the Delta, showing that it is possible to work from three different starting points and converge on the same answers, and that Huangs interpretation of these phenomena in his 1990 book is based on a series of conceptual and statistical errors; once the math is corrected, Huangs evidence actually supports Pomeranzs conclusions. As a result, the article gives us much greater certainty than we have ever had before about levels and trends in economic performance in the most advanced region of late imperial China, and extends our understanding of some of the most important economic phenomena in Eurasia during the 16 th —18 th centuries: the growth of handicraft industry, the intensification of labor and development of new “modern” attitudes toward work and consumption, and the achievements and problems of intensive agriculture as it struggled to support unprecedented levels of population and approached, in many areas, the limits of available land. It also incorporates, to a greater extent than The Great Divergence did, recent research on work patterns and changes in the use of time in early modern Europe, and in Tokugawa Japan. This enables us to place late imperial Jiangnan in a context appropriate to its era in global history, rather than measuring it against the standards of a radically different contemporary world. Migration of Shizu to Cities and the Social Changes: from the Southern and Northern Dynasties to the Tang Dynasty$$$$ Han Sheng Politics of the shizu (the aristocratic clans of medieval Chinas Southern and Northern dynasties)are central to studies of this era. The collapse of their hegemony gave rise to a sea change in the state and economic systems during the mid Tang and the Song dynasties. In the Wei Jin period and the Southern and Northern Dynasties, shizu , due to their control of the countryside and their overwhelming social and cultural power, were the strongest political powers. By the Tang dynasty, the state had grown strong enough to bring the national culture under its control. Cities thrived into political, economic and cultural centers and drew in shizu members from the countryside. With the weakening and obsolescence of shizu hegemony over both rural and urban areas, a social transformation took place bearing the most far reaching significance since the replacement of feudalism by imperial administrations.
【CateGory Index】: K25
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