Development Versus Stagnation: Technological Continuity and Agricultural Progress in Pre-modern China

Brief introduction about the book:
s3766024China’s loss of economic, technical, and cultural supremacy after the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279) has produced one of the greatest enigmas of world history. Why did China fail to undergo an industrial revolution? Explanations relate to deficiencies of Chinese cultural values, social structure, class system, bureaucracy, and technology.
This volume examines the subject of technological development, particularly agricultural development, in order to evaluate whether China suffered all-round technological stagnation. Using the example of the nongshu, or agricultural book, the author also examines the role of Chinese values, social structure, class structure, and bureaucracy in the accumulation, preservation, diffusion, promotion, and recovery of knowledge. Nongshu formed an organic part of Chinese agriculture and thus of Chinese economic history. Thus examination of the nongshu phenomenon leads to new insights into the sociopolitical structure and long-term economic development of pre-modern China. The examination also shows that Chinese technology in agriculture, the leading sector of the economy, did not completely stagnate.

About the author:
Dr Kent G. DENG is Reader in Economic History at the London School of Economics. He joined LSE in 1995. He is also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and visiting professor at the University of Turin, Italy.
He specializes in the economic history of China in both the pre–modern (pre-1840) and modern (post-1840) periods, including Chinese culture, ideology, state policies, agriculture, industry, modernization and economic reforms.
He also has media experience, mainly with the BBC World Service, where he has been a guest several times.


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