1st Edition

European and Chinese Histories of Economic Thought Theories and Images of Good Governance

Edited By Iwo Amelung, Bertram Schefold Copyright 2022
    328 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    328 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Western literature on the history of Chinese economic thought is sparse, and comparisons with the history of Western economic thought even more so. This pioneering book brings together Western and Chinese scholars to reflect on the historical evolution of economic thought in Europe and China.

    The international panel of contributors cover key topics such as currency, usury, land tenure, the granary system, welfare, and government, and special attention is given to monetary institutions and policies. The problem of "good government" emerges as the unifying thread of a complex analysis that includes both theoretical issues and applied economics. Chinese lines of evolution include the problem of the agency of the State, its ideological justification, the financing of public expenditure, the role played by the public administration, and the provision of credit. The early radical condemnation of usury in the Near East and in the West gives way to theoretical justifications of interest-taking in early capitalist Europe; they, in turn, lead to advances in mathematics and business administration and represent one of the origins of modern economic theory. Other uniting themes include the relationship between metallic and paper money in Chinese and European experiences and the cross-fertilization of economic practices and ideas in the course of their pluri-millennial interactions. Differences emerge; the approach to the organization of economic life was, and still is, more State-centred in China. The editors bring together these analytical threads in a final chapter, opening wider horizons for this new line of comparative economic research which is important for the understanding of modern ideological turns.

    This volume provides valuable reading for scholars in the history of economic thought, economic history and Chinese studies.

    Part I: Chinese Lines of Evolution

    Section 1: The Agency of the State

    1. People’s Livelihoods and Good Governance in the Past and for the Future
    Bin Wong

    2. Justifying Office-selling for Famine Relief in Nineteenth-century Qing China
    Elisabeth Kaske

    3. The Cost of Security: Financing Yellow River Hydraulics During the Late Imperial Period
    Iwo Amelung

    Section 2: Land, Interest and Usury

    4. Outline of the Institutions for Land Transactions in Traditional China
    Denggao Long and Xiang Chi

    5. Loans and Interest Rates in Traditional China
    Qiugen Liu

    6. The Progression of Foreign Currencies in Ancient China
    Yaguang Zhang, Yue Bi and Zyler Wang

    Part II: European Lines of Evolution

    Section 1: From Rationalisations of Usury to Deductive Theories of Interest

    7. Theorizing Interest: How Did It All Begin? Some Landmarks on the Prohibition of Usury in Scholastic Economic Thought
    André Lapidus and Irina Chaplygina

    8. Merchants and the New Catholic View on the Economy: Florence and Augsburg Between the 15th and the 16th Century
    Monika Poettinger

    9.  From Kaspar Klock’s “De aerario” (1651) and Leibniz’s “Meditatio de interusurio simplice” to Florencourt’s “Abhandlungen aus der juristischen und der politischen Rechenkunst” (1781): How Calculus Led from the Logic of a Device for Circumventing the Prohibition of Usury to a Modern Theory of Depreciation
    Bertram Schefold

    10. Interest on Money, Own Rate of Interest, the Natural Interest Rate and the Rate of Profits: A short History of Concepts – Ultimately Emerging from the Usury Debate
    Volker Caspari

    Section 2: The Spread of Monetary Relations and the Transition from Poor Relief to the Welfare State

    11. Labour and Poverty in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
    Cosimo Perrotta

    12.  After China, before Sweden and England: the Circulation of Paper Money in Naples
    Lilia Costabile

    13. European Models and Transformations of the Welfare State
    Hans-Michael Trautwein

    Part III: Contact, Comparison and Interaction

    Section 1: Before the Revolutions

    14. Xunzi and Plato on the Economics of Totalitarianism: A Meeting of Distant Minds
    Terry Peach

    15. Yantie Lun in the Pro-legalist and Anti-Confucian Campaign
    Qunyi Liu

    16. A Critical Examination of Chinese Influences on Quesnay
    Richard van den Berg

    Section 2: The Traces of the Past in the Transition to Modernity

    17. Rethinking Traditional Attitudes Towards Consumption in the Process of Formation of Chinese Economics (Late Qing and Republican Period)
    Olga Borokh

    18. China’s Ancient Principles of Price Regulation through Market Participation: The Guanzi from a Comparative Perspective
    Isabella Weber

    19. Confucian Entrepreneurship and Moral Guidelines for Business in China
    Matthias Niedenführ

    Part IV: Conclusions and Perspectives

    20. Towards a Systematic Comparison of Different Forms of Economic Thought
    Iwo Amelung and Bertram Schefold


    Iwo Amelung is Professor at Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. His research interests are: history of knowledge of modern China, bureaucracy and social history of the Qing period, emergence and development of scientific disciplines in modern China.

    Bertram Schefold is Senior Professor at Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He teaches economic theory and history of economic thought. His research interests are: Capital theory, history of economic thought and development.