Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing: Engaging China

Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing: Engaging China © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/156920610X489180 Historical Materialism 18 (2010) 110–129 brill.nl/hima Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing : Engaging China Flemming Christiansen Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds f.christiansen@leeds.ac.uk Abstract Th is contribution examines Arrighi’s eff ort in Adam Smith in Beijing to understand the trajectory of China’s political economy and the eff ects of that trajectory on the current reforms and changes in China. Th is article discusses these reforms from the perspective of China’s ‘internal’ dynamics and suggests that Arrighi’s argument has been developed without proper reference to China’s complex realities. As an alternative, the contribution proposes a research- agenda that could better account for these realities. Keywords China, political economy, Asiatic despotism, involution, capitalism Th is contribution deals particularly with Arrighi’s coverage of China’s political economy, addressing the challenge of the title Adam Smith in Beijing. Arrighi considers China, with reference to Adam Smith, as an example of ‘natural’ and peaceful wealth-creation. Historical sources from the eighteenth century give credence to Adam Smith’s favourable view of China’s non-destructive wealth-creation in contrast to the violent capitalism of Europe and North America. Arrighi considers that the Chinese system represents a fundamentally diff erent http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Historical Materialism Brill

Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing: Engaging China

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© 2010 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1465-4466
eISSN
1569-206X
D.O.I.
10.1163/156920610X489180
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/156920610X489180 Historical Materialism 18 (2010) 110–129 brill.nl/hima Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing : Engaging China Flemming Christiansen Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds f.christiansen@leeds.ac.uk Abstract Th is contribution examines Arrighi’s eff ort in Adam Smith in Beijing to understand the trajectory of China’s political economy and the eff ects of that trajectory on the current reforms and changes in China. Th is article discusses these reforms from the perspective of China’s ‘internal’ dynamics and suggests that Arrighi’s argument has been developed without proper reference to China’s complex realities. As an alternative, the contribution proposes a research- agenda that could better account for these realities. Keywords China, political economy, Asiatic despotism, involution, capitalism Th is contribution deals particularly with Arrighi’s coverage of China’s political economy, addressing the challenge of the title Adam Smith in Beijing. Arrighi considers China, with reference to Adam Smith, as an example of ‘natural’ and peaceful wealth-creation. Historical sources from the eighteenth century give credence to Adam Smith’s favourable view of China’s non-destructive wealth-creation in contrast to the violent capitalism of Europe and North America. Arrighi considers that the Chinese system represents a fundamentally diff erent

Journal

Historical MaterialismBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2010

Keywords: political economy; involution; China; capitalism; Asiatic despotism

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