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Thread: Was China really that far ahead of everyone else in the past?

  1. #181

    Default Re: Was China really that far ahead of everyone else in the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus View Post

    ...but the obsessive and successful focus on defeating the Mongol Khanate began with the Ming decision to abandon the sea and move the capital to Beijing in the end ensured the dominance of the West, the loss of Imperial China's position as the world's advanced technological and maritime power.

    China in 1430 had the power to project its maritime power to any island or port in the China sea, in India or Sri Lanka, or in Persia, Saudi Arabia and the West Coast of Africa. The abandonment of the seas by Ming China therefore allowed the Europeans to dominate Africa, India and the South China Sea.Period.

    While the decline of Chinese sea power is often blamed on having to deal with the northern threat, there were limitations on Chinese ship design that would likely have led to the Chinese decline regardless.

    It was in the fifteenth century that differences of great importance emerged in local naval architectural practices. For around that time, development in Europe began to accelerate in response to unique social, economic and military pressures. In short order, European naval architecture ‘took off ’, and over a period of about three centuries followed a trajectory that placed European ships and seafarers in a position of absolute maritime supremacy over any non-European maritime civilization.
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    Meanwhile, in broadly unified and generally well-governed dynastic China,nothing similar occurred...........
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    The largest Chinese ships of the mid-nineteenth century had developed incrementally from vessels from a millennium before; they would have been familiarin almost all respects to a seafarer of that earlier epoch. If we ignore the highlycontentious, indeed technically extremely dubious, claims of the Zheng Hetreasure-ship boosters,34 it will have moved from being 20–30 metres in length to60–70 metres, and from 100 or so tons burthen to at most 1,500 tons burthen.35The unstayed, multi-single-tree-masted36 rigs barely changed, though over a900-year period the sails passed from conjoined panels of a sandwich of wovenrattan or bamboo and leaves, through panels of tightly woven rattan or bamboo,to battened, complete sails of a hemp- and flax-based canvas.
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    But it can be argued that outwith some truly major technical changes, for anyglimmerings of which there is no obvious historical evidence, the naval architecture that had evolved in China by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) may havefaced some intrinsic limitations in its basic design envelope. In effect, the designand performance envelopes of the Chinese junk hull and rig had nearly identical boundaries, such that if there were demands for enhanced performance as aresult of competitive or other pressures, there may not have been any margin tospare without radical changes in materials and fastening technologies. By contrast, the scalability and adaptability of the Western design envelope createdlarger margins outside the initial performance envelope that could accommodateincreased performance demands. Simply put, among several design constraintsbuilt into the Chinese design envelope, two were arguably the most important.Given the system of transverse solid framing, it was difficult to increase internalcapacity by adding depth to the hull. Given the rig, it was difficult to add moredriving power—in the form of increased sail area—to propel a larger, heavierhull. The system that had evolved in the West, on the other hand, allowed theready development of multiple continuous decks in the hull. In the rig, by theaddition of topmasts and top gallant masts with further staying, more sail areacould be added to drive the larger hulls....."The East Sails West: The Voyage of the Keying 1846 - 1855" Stephen Davies. https://hkupress.hku.hk/pro/con/302.pdf
    And while many of extolled the sailing virtues of the Chinese ships, there are some indications that the traditional Chinese sailing ships might not have been as good as some have claimed.

    In the replica of a Chinese traditional sailing junk, the Princess Taping, which sank by being run over by a modern freighter, some posters who actually met some of the crew who had sailed under the captain of the Taiping had this to say:

    My comment: Your interest of how such ancient junk like ‘Princess Tai-ping’ wound behave in different point of sail and weather/wind conditions is admirable.Am I too bold to ask you what you have learned when you talked with ‘captain’ Liu about the sailing performance of ‘Princess Tai-ping’?
    OK, you said that you didn’t like to mention it in your article (you didn’t like to bore the readers…) even though it presumably is the key to understand why ‘Princess Tai-ping’ had so many problems during her voyage.
    Because of her sailing characteristics, her poor pointing ability, her extreme leeway, etc.?!
    Why ‘Princess Tai-ping’ was not able to call Seattle as planed but ended up in Eureka? (Eureka!!!) Why did ‘Princess Tai-ping’ not sail straight from Okinawa to Keelung where she was expected to finish her voyage, but ended up east of Suau?

    And why she was shipwrecked there?
    Check the charts and the weather/wind conditions at the time if you still don’t get my point.

    Anyhow, don’t you at least agree with me that a historic junk like ‘Princess Tai-ping’ is extremely difficult to sail? https://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/200...pacific-ocean/
    The Princess Taiping inability to sail to intended ports due to some of the poor sailing characteristics of the traditional Chinese junk design is mirrored in the 19th century Chinese junk Keying having to divert from sailing to England as intended but sailed to New York instead after rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Since sailing to New York isn't really a shorter voyage from St. Helena than Britain, it implies that the sailing abilities of the Keying were not up to sailing to England directly. I don't recall ever reading of any European ship having to divert to North America instead of sailing to Europe as planned when they rounded the Cape.

    While there was great advance in ship design in Europe from the 13th century to the 15th century, what major advance was there in Chinese ship design in the same period? European ships went from just square sails or just lateen sails to a combination of both square and fore/aft (lateen) sails, while we don't see similar evolution of the Chinese sail plans to the same extent.

    PS - European ships back in the 13th century could be of a large size. The Genoese ship the Oliva was capable of carrying 1,100 passengers in 1248, and the a proposal in 1268 for hiring ships in the second crusade of King Louis IX took as standard a vessel capable of carrying 1,000 pilgrims. (The Hospitallers, the Mediterranean and Europe: Festschrift for Anthony Luttrel, Chapter 6 "Hospitaller Ships and Transportation Across the Mediterranean" David Jacoby. https://books.google.com/books?id=rI...201000&f=false ) The number of passengers given for these European ships were similar to those reported for the Chinese ships around a similar time frame.
    Last edited by Common Soldier; January 08, 2020 at 04:53 PM.

  2. #182

    Default Re: Was China really that far ahead of everyone else in the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by conon394 View Post

    Tend to suggest the authors are also using the traditional view of the classical world as trapped in the same crappy system as not Britain/Dutch in the 17-19 the centuries. I pretty suree for example the high efficiency and effectiveness of Roman livestock management - From manuring, crop rotation and animal size increases makes no ticks on what must be some scale of innovations because its largely confined to specialist journal where as Finnely's dead hand looms large over all things with Roman Technology or Economy.

    Most historians are not farmers anymore and very few bother to actually talk to any. To be fair its only been 20-30 years that some archeologists and historians have cared to look at the evidence but roman mixed farming in Italy was very sophisticated and rivaled the Dutch in their not Industrial revolution escape from the Malthusian trap. But nothing about is flashy like having a seed drill. A consderation of using over a dozen perennial forage crops and using them does not really have the same bang.
    In the last several decades, people have discovered that inventions that previously had thought to have been medieval ones (crankshaft, for example) actually were Roman ones.

    Still, the Roman technology for the most part merely represented the refinement of technologies that had previously been invented elsewhere. Except for concrete as a substitute for stone and brick, I can't think of any technology that was an entirely Roman invention. Roman agriculture represented the refinement of thousands of years of agricultural tradition. In some areas, it would take Western Europe up until the 19th century before they matched and exceeded some of the skills the Roman had, such as building large scale public stadiums or public baths.

    What made Europe different after the early medieval collapse was the overall advancement of technology that has continued on to the present time. Many civilizations have a burst of creativity followed by periods where you see more refinement of technology rather fundamentally new inventions. Medieval Europe was different. In agriculture, in ship building, in warfare, we see advances in various fields throughout. In some cases, medieval Europe was starting from a point well behind what the ancient Greco-Roman civilization had achieved, and it took centuries to for Europe to catch up and surpass it. But in others, by the High Middle Ages, Western Europe had already surpassed the Classical World.

    Take shipping and ship building. As I already cited, 13th century Genoese were building ships capable of carrying a 1000 passengers, which surely must have rivaled the largest Roman ships in size. More over, advances in navigational methods helped by inventions like magnetic compasses and portlan charts led to revolutionary changes in the thousands year old practice of Mediterranean shipping from just one voyage a year to 2 round trips a year.

    The development of the design of great galleys, cogs and carracks may beseen as an indication of superiority in terms of ship building technology because it is
    safer to set sail in the winter, and more suitable for open sea crossing by thesestronger ships. It is known that the Great Council of Venice of 1292 decided that theships could make two round trips in a year instead of one, as a result of these newtechnical advantages of ship design "LATE BYZANTINE SHIPS AND SHIPPING1204-1453" Master Thesis paper EVREN TÜRKMENOĞLU http://www.thesis.bilkent.edu.tr/0008006.pdf
    A further indication that Gautier Dalché’s early time estimate {of portlan charts} is not improbable is provided by John H. Pryor, who extensively investigatedthe logistics of Crusader transports.1 Pryor notes that in the First Crusade allhorses were brought to Palestine by land, but that a major revolution tookplace in transporting horses and troops by sea between 1096 and 1204. Duringthis period horses were increasingly, and in increasing numbers, transportedby ship. Furthermore, night sailing was developed by the Christians, but wasnot practiced or at least not widely so by the Mediterranean Muslims. Pryorconcludes that this maritime revolution was most probably introduced byimprovements in navigation, rather than by, for example, developments inshipbuilding or rigging. Night sailing clearly requires knowledge of the watersahead. Pryor also noticed that the average speed of transports increased bysome 400 percent, suggesting that Crusader fleets were able to navigate withgreater confidence, using more direct routes than before.2 Chapter 12 "Synthesis" The Enigma of the Origin of Portolan Charts Roel Nicolai file:///D:/_book_9789004285125_B9789...13-preview.pdf
    It is what made Western Europe different starting from the High Middle Ages and going forward, was the continue advance in technology seen across abroad range of areas. It is not just shipping, we see it in warfare. The plate armor of the 13th and 14th century is different and more protective than the mail armor of the 12th century, and the armor of the Norman soldiers in the Bayeux Tapestry is more extensive and protective than the armor shown shown for Charlemagne's soldiers a couple centuries earlier. The windlass cranked crossbows were more powerful and more sophisticated than the earlier hand drawn medieval crossbows.

    I just don't see that kind of advancement occurring in China. Nothing I have seen shows me Zheng He's ships were fundamentally more advanced or even larger than those of the Song dynasty. After a burst of creativity during the Song dynasty, China, like the Hellenistic Greek Classical world, settle into a period where there really wasn't much fundamental technological advance, more refinement on existing technology. (Guns and gunpowder, printing, magnetic compass all were invented in previous dynasties from the Ming.). The sailing ships of the late Roman empire were not fundamentally different from those of the Classical Greek world of centuries earlier, just perhaps bigger on the average, and the same could be said for China of the Ming dynasty. What advances in gun technology the Ming possessed were from borrowing, such as the matchlock mechanism, or their breech loading small cannons (from the Portuguese), and refining those technologies. The Chinese did not come up with new mechanisms comparable to the flint lock, percussion cap, or the self contained bullet themselves. Nor can it all be blamed on China's resources being too diverted to having fight the Mongols and others. Wheellocks, and snaplocks (predecessor of the flintlock), and percussion cap were the result of private individuals. And many of the astronomical discoveries and use of the telescope were by amateur astronomers, like Herschel, who did astronomy as a hobby. It can't seriously be maintained that China lacked individuals with sufficient wealth to the same (and it if were true, in would undermine the claim that China was comparable to Europe up until the 18th, 19th centuries.)

    There is no classical counterpart to the medieval European reading glasses, or the all mechanical clocks, or magnetic compass, or the late medieval printing press. These were more than a simple refinement of existing technology. And instead of the rate of invention slowing down, it just seem to accelerated in the following centuries up until today.

  3. #183

    Default Re: Was China really that far ahead of everyone else in the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by Genava View Post
    Ok, but still the figure I put in my message can hardly be explained by this difference. Because of the ages chosen.
    Here the figure again: https://ibb.co/5Ld3nhC
    The interesting point is that we see a dramatic increase in life expectancy from the European data, while we do not see a similar change from the Chinese one. This chart again undermines the claims of the California School, since if we didn't see any significant change in the centuries preceding the 19th century, there is no reason to think that the Chinese would have suddenly taken off on their own without Western influence, which undermines the one of the key claims of the California school.


    The graph in figure 2.2 seems to contradict the graph in figured 2.3. Figure 2.2 shows Europe surpassing China innovation by 1200, which Figure 2.3 shows China still ahead in innovation by 1400. The authors assert the data in figure 2.3 is more reliable but as is all too often in the case when it comes to proclaiming Chinese superiority, the authors peovide no specific examples to actually back up their assertions.

    Base on pesonally knowledge, I find figure 2.2 far more accurate. I can cite specific scientitic and technogical innovaions where rhe Weat had clearly surpassed China, and even the authors of the paper concede European lead in military and science, but just assert east asian lead in subjective matters like "craftsmanship", whatever the hell that meana.
    Last edited by Common Soldier; January 08, 2020 at 09:41 PM.

  4. #184
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    Default Re: Was China really that far ahead of everyone else in the past?

    The graph in figure 2.2 seems to contradict the graph in figured 2.3. Figure 2.2 shows Europe surpassing China innovation by 1200, which Figure 2.3 shows China still ahead in innovation by 1400. The authors assert the data in figure 2.3 is more reliable but as is all too often in the case when it comes to proclaiming Chinese superiority, the authors peovide no specific examples to actually back up their assertions.
    Are they proclaiming Chinese superiority?
    Open Access Defenders Step Up to Save ‘Pirate Bay of Science’
    https://nerdist.com/article/open-acc...brary-genesis/

  5. #185

    Default Re: Was China really that far ahead of everyone else in the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by Genava View Post
    Are they proclaiming Chinese superiority?
    If the authors presented any actual data to support their view, please point it out.

    Statements like

    Goldstone rightly notes that “almost all of Europe’s early technical achievementswere inspired by a desire to catch up to superior Asian technology. https://www.academia.edu/23142073/Gr...al_Perspective
    This is clearly a false statement, and shows both the bias of the authors and of the sources they used. European development of reading glasses were not inspired by superior Asian technology, nor was the European development of the horizontal axis windmill, nor even printing. Despite repeated claims otherwise, there is no real evidence to support the claim that European printing was derived or even inspired by Asian printing, all objective evidence points toward an independent European development.

    And European clock making advances were inspired by local needs, again there is evidence Far East Asian clock making had any influence on European clock making. Most European inventions were driven by European needs, not by any European desire to catch with China. The telescope, the microscope, the ship steering wheel, the development of the screw as a threaded fastener, the development of the hourglass, Portolan charts, mariner's compasses were all driven by European need and were superior to Asia technology, so the statement of the authors' and Goldstone are clearly wrong, but do show their believe in superior Asian technology.

    So yet, the authors were proclaiming Chinese superiority.

  6. #186
    Genava's Avatar Centenarius
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    Default Re: Was China really that far ahead of everyone else in the past?

    If the authors presented any actual data to support their view, please point it out.
    You know what? I didn't read entirely the chapter and I only wanted to share it to ease the talk for everybody but I got the same feeling as you that the authors doesn't back up their claims. I didn't have a strong opinion on the matter and it is not my area of expertise (which are Earth and Environmental sciences). My first thought is quite common and in opposition with the Californian school.

    So I look up for your quote, here it is entirely:

    Goldstone rightly notes that “almost all of Europe’s early technical achievements were inspired by a desire to catch up to superior Asian technology. Whether in the production of steel, cotton cloth, ceramics, ships, or even cast iron, in 1500 Europeans could only dream of producing goods that would approximate Asian quality. Efforts to realize those dreams eventually led to machines and inventions that allowed Europeans to catch and eventually surpass Asian achievements” (Goldstone 2009a : 171).
    The reference is: "Why Europe? The Rise of the West in World History 1500-1850" by Jack A. Goldstone.

    Looking the exact page quoted in this book, it gives:
    Almost all of what we regard as European science and mathematics of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was based on the Islamic development of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and medicine from AD 800 to 1400. The Islamic world then stretched from Spain and the rich African kingdoms of Mali and Morocco in the west, embracing centers of scholarship from Cordoba to Fez and Cairo, across Iraq and Persia to India. The caliph in Baghdad assembled the best scholars and the mathematical and scientific knowledge of the Greeks, Arabs, Persians, and Hindus for debate and discovery. The products of this cosmopolitan civilization, distilled in Arabic texts and later translated into Latin, were what provided the basis first for the Renaissance and then for the development of modern experimental and mathematical science in Europe. The roots of modern science were therefore essentially global, not European. In addition, almost all of Europe’s early technical achievements were inspired by a desire to catch up to superior Asian technology. Whether in the production of steel, cotton cloth, ceramics, ships, or even cast iron, in 1500 Europeans could only dream of producing goods that would approximate Asian quality. Efforts to realize those dreams eventually led to machines and inventions that allowed Europeans to catch and eventually surpass Asian achievements. Still, as late as 1750, it seemed unlikely that Europe would ever match Asian goods in quality and price. Asian inventions and techniques—from use of the compass in navigation, to paper-making, to casting metals—were directly incorporated into European technology and laid the basis for future technological change.
    So yes, there is a problem. Nothing back up the claim in the reference either. So it is a warning for me.

    So yet, the authors were proclaiming Chinese superiority.
    I wouldn't go that far but indeed, they are excessively pushing their opinions.

    Interestingly I found a critical review of the Californian school publications: https://www.researchgate.net/profile...Divergence.pdf
    Open Access Defenders Step Up to Save ‘Pirate Bay of Science’
    https://nerdist.com/article/open-acc...brary-genesis/

  7. #187

    Default Re: Was China really that far ahead of everyone else in the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by Genava View Post
    You know what? I didn't read entirely the chapter and I only wanted to share it to ease the talk for everybody but I got the same feeling as you that the authors doesn't back up their claims. I didn't have a strong opinion on the matter and it is not my area of expertise (which are Earth and Environmental sciences). My first thought is quite common and in opposition with the Californian school.

    So I look up for your quote, here it is entirely:



    The reference is: "Why Europe? The Rise of the West in World History 1500-1850" by Jack A. Goldstone.

    Looking the exact page quoted in this book, it gives:


    So yes, there is a problem. Nothing back up the claim in the reference either. So it is a warning for me.



    I wouldn't go that far but indeed, they are excessively pushing their opinions.
    It may be that they do have a case to make, my issue is that they don't provide any evidence supporting their views. Simply quoting other authors, who might share the same bias as themselves, is insufficient. As you know from Climate Change skeptics, and other topics, people can always find others to support what ever view or position they have, but that does not make the view or position any more correct.

    However, one should take at this point into account the following consideration.The point is that, starting from the twelfth century, Hellemans and Bunch appear tohave become obsessed with the registration of the explosively growing stream of theEuropean inventions, and that is why they start to pay much less attention to the registration of the Eastern scientific-technological innovations. That is why there isgood cause to suppose that the decline of the scientific-technological activity rates suggested by Fig.2.2 may actually be an artefact of such an under registration. Inthis respect, it has turned out to be necessary to use a data survey on the dynamics of the number of innovations in science and technology in China in the periodbetween the tenth and nineteenth centuries (Goldstone 2009a: 122). https://www.academia.edu/23142073/Gr...al_Perspective
    The passage above rejects one set of data based on possible "bias", yet accepts a second source that might be equally as biased in the opposite direction. There is a lot of erroneous information put out about Ming inventions, for example I found one site listing Ming inventions saying the ship rudder was invented during the Ming dynasty, which is not true. The ship's stern rudder in China was actually in place during the Song dynasty, or perhaps even earlier, so the statement below is completely incorrect. I wonder how many other similarly incorrect claims for the Ming and other dynasties Goldstone used to support his claim that the level invention remained high during the Ming dynasty, comparable to what it was during the Song dynasty according to graph figure 2.3, peaking in the beginning of the Ming dynasty, which runs counter to what I have read and what I know of the Ming achievements.

    All the major inventions of the Ming were either invented in previous dynasties, or the were inventions, like the matchlock, the Chinese borrowed from others. Ming did at best did relatively minor improvements on the major inventions of previous dynasties and others.

    Another great invention during the Ming Dynasty was ship rudders. This innovation in marine life made the steering of large ships easier and also served as a guide to sailors as they traversed the deep waters.
    The ship rudders and other Ming Dynasty inventions have swept through the ages all over the world. Today, these contributions are widely used, leaving a mark in the history of China and the entire world. http://themingdynasty.org/ming-dynasty-inventions.html


    Note, the European stern rudder is of a different design and construction, and scholars generally agree was an independent invention. Truth is, that outside China and its immediate proteges like Japan and Korean, Chinese stern rudders had very little influence on the rest of the world. European stern rudders arose in norther waters on medieval cogs, which is exactly opposite of what would be the case had the idea come from the east - you would expect to see it first on Mediterranean ships, which had more direct contact with the East.

    Also, if what the article would say is true, than European invented the sternpost rudder before China, since we have evidence for sternpost rudder on European ships dating back to 1180, which was during the Song dynasty, and so before the Ming.

    This is one of the two earliest known images of a vessel with a stern rudder. This relief is carved on a Baptismal font in Winchester Cathedral, England, and dates to AD 1180. https://nautarch.tamu.edu/class/316/medievaleurope/


    2

    Interestingly I found a critical review of the Californian school publications: https://www.researchgate.net/profile...Divergence.pdf
    Thanks.

    I would like to say that, while I might disagree with the particulars of "Great Divergenceand Great Convergence: A Global Perspective" Leonid Grinin • Andrey Korotayev, I actually find myself in agreement with their general premise - that there was a period of time when Europe had both surpassed China and was still catching up in other fields, although I am not convinced that Europe was behind in these other areas quite as much as the authors of the article thought.

    And I even think the California School has some valid points to make. Until the 19th century, the West was not vastly far ahead of Asian, and the average person in the East was comparable to their European counterpart in many areas until then. But then, except for the early middle ages, Asia was not as far ahead of Europe as is commonly portrayed either. Europe until the mid 18th century had a lead similar to what Asia had to Europe during the earlier part of the Middle Ages. Truth is, throughout most of history most people were relatively poor, not matter where they lived.


    PS - I had a chance to read the article critical of the California school, https://www.researchgate.net/profile...Divergence.pdf, in more depth, and I find that I am in agreement with what he writes. I have often observed that China promoters like the California school often say things that are in conflict with other, and not bothered in the least by their contradictory claims, like someone like Andre Gunder Frank:

    . In China, that according to Frank was the most efficient economy of the world and its silver sink, real wages then apparently must have been so low and capital so expensive that it was not profitable to invest in labour saving. Apparently, these contradictions do not bother Frank. They should because they actually destroy his main thesis about China’s centrality (Frank 1998a: chapter 6). https://www.researchgate.net/publica...eat_Divergence
    In deed, the key claim of the poverty and backwardness of Europe by groups like the California school goes against the reality and the fact that it was Europe that the Industrial Revolution labor took place, and machinery was substituted for human labor on a large scale. High wages that gave an incentive to substitute human labor with machinery indicate a higher living standard, and relative richness of Europe, since poorer areas have lower wages and less incentive to mechanize. Also, poor, more backward areas have less money and technical expertise available to mechanize.

    Another thing, is that unlike what is so typical of many articles that promote Chinese superiority, the article "The California School and Beyond: How to Study the Great Diversity?" gives a lot of very specific examples to support the claims made, not just making claims and citing the opinions of others for support, as the article in "Great Divergence and Great Convergence. A Global Perspective" just does. It is not just the authors' in the "Great Divergence and Great Convergence" article, but you see it in a lot of other pro China writers as well, where assertions are made, but presentation of actual evidence to back up the claims are lacking, with the opinions of others given instead of actual facts.
    Inprofitable to invest in labour saving. Apparently, these contradictions do not bother Frank
    silver sink, real wages then apparently must have been so low and capital so expensive that it was not
    profitable to invest in labour saving. Apparently, these contradictions do not bother Frank. They should
    because they actually destroy his main thesis about China’s centrality (Frank 1998a: chapter 6).
    silver sink, real wages then apparently must have been so low and capital so expensive that it was not
    profitable to invest in labour saving. Apparently, these contradictions do not bother Frank. They should
    because they actually destroy his main thesis about China’s centrality (Frank 1998a: chapter 6).
    Last edited by Common Soldier; January 13, 2020 at 04:55 PM.

  8. #188

    Default Re: Was China really that far ahead of everyone else in the past?

    I'm ten pages late to this thread, but have a very topical question. Why is China considered a continuous empire (China is 5,000 year old etc.) when they haven't been? We don't consider the Pope a Roman emperor because he rules over some of the same territory ancient emperors did. Were the Lombards actually the Roman Empire because at one point they owned Rome? No!!! Egypt was conquered by outside people yet isn't considered a continuous state, why is China?
    Last edited by NorthernXY; January 20, 2020 at 05:08 PM.

  9. #189

    Default Re: Was China really that far ahead of everyone else in the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernXY View Post
    I'm ten pages late to this thread, but have a very topical question. Why is China considered a continuous empire (China is 5,000 year old etc.) when they haven't been? We don't consider the Pope a Roman emperor because he rules over some of the same territory ancient emperors did. Were the Lombards actually the Roman Empire because at one point they owned Rome? No!!! Egypt was conquered by outside people yet isn't considered a continuous state, why is China?
    I don't think anyone is saying China has been a continous empire for 5,000 years, but a continious civilization for 5,000 years, which is a little different. China has been using the same writing system for the last 2000 years, really the last 3000 years or slightly more. Also, some of the influential classical text of China w s re written more than 2000 years old, some of the elements that make up a civilization are 2000 years old or more.

    However, 5000 years of continous civilization might be a bit of a stretch. It isn't until around 1000 BC that we havs text longer than just a few characters (words) long. The Shang dynasty is the oldest dynasty we seem to have solid information on, which dates baxk to around 16th century BC, which doesn't make it any older than the Mycenaean Civilation.






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