China’s economic development has become a matter of world-wide interest since the boom that began in the 1980s. Key Papers in Chinese Economic History since 1949 offers a selection of outstanding articles that trace the origins of the modern Chinese economy. Topics covered include agriculture and the rural economy; industrialisation and urbanisation; finance and capital; political economy and international connections.
The Story of the Ming Salt Certificate
During the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the government invited merchants to deliver grain in return for salt certificates with which merchants drew salt as reward. The salt certificate therefore represented a national debt, denominated in salt, the government thereby owed merchants. A speculative market of salt certificates was created in Yangzhou and brought into being powerful financiers in the early 17th century. The government, financially hard pressed, abolished the speculative market of salt certificates by franchising these financiers in return for their hereditary obligation to pay salt certificate surcharge. China was therefore deprived of a possibility to develop a public debt market. This story is a testimony to Fernand Braudel’s argument of the "nondevelopment" of Capitalism in China.
Chinese Contemporary Art in the Post-Mao Era
Between State and Market: Chinese Contemporary Art in the Post-Mao Era examines the shift in the system of support for contemporary art in China between 1979 and 1993, from state patronage to the introduction of the market, and the hybrid space that developed in between. Today, soaring prices for contemporary art have triggered a debate about the deleterious effect of the market on art. Yet Jane DeBevoise argues that, in the post-Mao period, the imaginary of the marketplace was liberating, offering artists an alternative framework of legitimacy and support. Based on primary research, DeBevoise explores the entangled role of the state and the market, and how experimental artists and their champions in China negotiated to find a creative space between the two systems to produce and promote their work.