Industrial Revolution In China

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Industrial revolution has been a controversial topic for debate for many years. Many scholars have been arguing the reasons why China did not manage to take on industrial revolution. What made such a gap in technological innovations between the South East Asia and Europe? In the 14th century, the South East Asia, preferably China, was not lagging behind but doing as well as, or probably better than Europe. According to Kenneth, China was very successful in agricultural aspect and she was more capable in cultivation of land than the European though the livestock per capita of China may not be as high as the European. He also compared the various aspects between Europe and China, which are considered as the advantages for having
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In 1492, Columbus started his voyage which aimed at developing new trading route and expanding colonies. Ultimately, the European monarch discovered the New World. The discovery of the New World boosted European’s trading. On the other hand, while the Chinese government in the Ming Dynasty stopped financing the maritime expeditions, China gradually lost her position as the major economic actor in the trading system of the Afro-Asian world.

Candice Goucher and her colleagues mentioned in their book that China had played a crucial role in the Afro-Asian world trade system until the late thirteen century, while Europe was only in the periphery and it was only connected to the trade system through the Mediterranean trade route. Prior to the Europeans, the Chinese government, in the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Chinese government directly sponsored the maritime expeditions and they reached the coastlines of East Africa and the Arabian peninsula. However, the Ming Dynasty government stopped supporting the maritime expeditions in the fifteenth century. The Chinese maritime expeditions were in disadvantage when compared to the European expeditions which were government-supported and backed by the European monarchs and emperors, stated in the European states mercantilist policies. Chinese merchants missed the state patronage as they were trying to establish themselves in south-eastern
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Landes argues that free market efficiency and institutionalized protection of private property did not exist in the China at that time. The Chinese government was always interfering the domestic production and private enterprise, hindering them from acting according to the market. Lucrative activities were often taken up by the Chinese government, price manipulations and bribing inflictions were also carried out by the government. The Chinese government even abandoned maritime trade as it was considered as the major cause of division of power and income inequality. There was no freedom and trust between the government and the domestic production and private enterprises. In a book called The Wealth and Poverty of the Nations, Landes
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