Political Structure, Status Mobility, and Economic Growth in Imperial and Modern China R H B Department of Sociology University of Maryland Virtually all theorists agree that one indispensable antecedent of economic development is the existence of innovators who discover and implement better ways of organizing the resources of production and exchange. Such an emphasis on entrepreneurial innovation and investment has characterized economic thought since Adam Smith, and it was voiced again in a modi ﬁ ed form by Joseph Schumpeter: The slow and continuous increase in time of the national supply of productive means and savings is obviously an important factor in explaining the course of economic history through the centuries, but it is overshadowed by the fact that development consists primarily in employing existing resources in a di ﬀ erent way, in doing new things with them (1949:68). The question remains, however, as to how such economic innovators came into existence in the ﬁ rst place. In treating this question, many analysts have put forward explanations having to do with the values or character structure of certain groups or individuals in society. Weber, for example, spoke of the “Protestant ethic” or “inner worldly aceticism
Asian Journal of Social Science – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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