A Swinging Pendulum: The Chinese Way in Growth and Development from 1800 to the Present Day

  • Kent G. Deng
Part of the The Nottingham China Policy Institute series book series (NCP)


In the economic history literature, there has been a long debate on how to generate and nurture modern growth in a premodern society with a list of influential authors who have devoted their time and energy contemplating ways to conduct social changes to accommodate modern growth in a premodern society.1 This is because industrialization-cum-modern growth only ever occurred ‘naturally’ once in England during the eighteenth century. In other words, modern growth was historically highly conditional and occasional. For the rest of the world, China included, it was a learning process. If so, it was a matter of (1) how much resistance to change from the Weberian notion of culture and values,2 (2) whether the elite wanted to have modern growth and (3) whether the elite were able to create and manipulate indigenous socio-economic conditions to allow modern growth to take root and reach maturity and so on. Empirically, many societies have tried to generate and nurture industrialization through reverse engineering. Good examples are twentieth-century Soviet Union, Japan and the Asian Tigers as well as nineteenth-century United States and Germany. Evidence shows that as early as circa 1800 learning from the outside world—Western Europe, the Soviet Union and the Asian Tigers—become obvious among the Chinese elite.


Opium Trade Chinese Communist Party Cultural Revolution Asian Tiger Modern Growth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Notes and references

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© Kent G. Deng 2015

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