Lee, J. (2019) Economics. In: Chiang, H. (ed.) The Making of the Human Sciences in China: Historical and Conceptual Foundations. Series: China studies (40). Brill: Leiden ; Boston, pp. 267-282. ISBN 9789004397613 (doi:10.1163/9789004397620_015)

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This chapter argues that involvement or the desire to be involved in policy making was the single most important force shaping the development and Sinicization of modern Chinese economics. The Sino-Japanese term for economics jingji (J: keizai) is an abbreviation of jingshi jimin (“ordering the world and saving the people”) and captures aptly the aims of pre-modern Chinese economic thinkers. Western-trained Chinese economists in the twentieth century did not simply apply the theories and models that they acquired from U.S. and European institutions; they also built upon their sensitivity to economic change to build a more detailed and empirical picture of the Chinese economy, with the aim of achieving policy influence, especially during the Nanjing Decade (1927–37). For this reason—despite their radically different intellectual backgrounds—there was much commonality between capitalist and Marxist economists in the twentieth century across the 1949 divide. Similarly, the chapter argues that the shared policy orientation of late imperial economic thinkers on the one hand and professional economists on the other allows the historian to contextualize the role of Western economics in the longer tradition of Chinese political economy as an area of intellectual inquiry shaped by the goal of improving the people’s livelihoods.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lee, Dr Joyman
Authors: Lee, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Published Online:07 May 2019

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