Technology, Skills and the Pre-Modern Economy investigates how technological skills and knowledge were reproduced and disseminated in the advanced agrarian societies of China, India, Russia and Europe in the centuries before the Industrial Revolution. The book offers regional surveys of Europe, China and India, as well as comparative studies of building, porcelain manufacturing, instrument making, printing, and shipbuilding. The authors engage with the on-going debate about the ‘great divergence’ between Asia and Europe, and its possible causes. Technology has so far had a minor role in that debate. This book is bound to change that, through the bold claims made by various contributors.
Contributors are: Karel Davids, S.R. Epstein †, Gijs Kessler, Jan Lucassen, Christine Moll-Murata, Patrick O'Brien, Kenneth Pomeranz, Maarten Prak, Tirthankar Roy, Richard Unger, and Jan Luiten van Zanden.
Marco Polo was in China Hans Ulrich Vogel offers an innovative look at the highly complex topics of currencies, salt production and taxes, commercial levies and other kinds of revenue as well as the administrative geography of the Mongol Yuan empire. The author’s rigorous analysis of Chinese sources and all the important Marco Polo manuscripts as well as his thorough scrutiny of Japanese, Chinese and Western scholarship show that the fascinating information contained in
Le devisament dou monde agrees almost pefectly with that we find in Chinese sources, the latter only available long after Marco Polo’s stay in China. Hence, the author concludes that, despite the doubts that have been raised, the Venetian was indeed in Khubilai Khan’s realm.