SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Modalities of the Fiscal State in Imperial China

Richard von Glahn, UCLA

Date: 21 May 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 21 May 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4426

Type of Event: Seminar

In the past two decades, increasing attention has been paid to the significance of the fiscal capacity of the premodern state in promoting or retarding economic growth.  In particular, the economic history scholarship has stressed the positive impact that the emergence of the “fiscal state” (drawing on Schumpeter’s concept of the tax state) had in enhancing economic growth in early modern Europe.  Comparative studies have contrasted the administrative efficiency of the emerging European fiscal state with contemporary Asian empires (the Ottomans, Mughals, and the Ming-Qing empires in China) to explain the “Great Divergence” in economic performance and state formation in the early modern period.  My intervention in this discussion seeks to contextualize the Ming-Qing state within the larger framework of Chinese state formation over the whole arc of the imperial era.  I identify four basic types of fiscal state that have appeared in China from the Qin unification to Ming-Qing times and assess their implications for economic growth.

Organiser: Dr. Andrea Janku

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