86 China Review International: Vol. 25, No. 1, 2018 Masayuki Tanimoto and R. Bin Wong, editors. Public Goods Provision in the Early Modern Economy: Comparative Perspectives from Japan, China, and Europe. Oakland: University of California Press, 2019. xiii, 331 pp. Paperback $34.95, ISBN 978-0-520-30365-2. In his introduction R. Bin Wong deﬁnes a problem and a method. The problem, now classic in the ﬁeld of economic history as envisaged by the sinologists of the California School since the end of the twentieth century, appears at ﬁrst glance to conduct comparison between Europe and East Asia’s early modern times to test the pretensions of a particularism of Western history. In this case, it is the notion of “public goods,” and the role they played from the end of medieval times in the transformation from patrimonial to modern State, with the question of the birth of public ﬁnances as a key issue. On the other hand, the methodological propositions of the book present a relative novelty, at least in the comparative perspectives of American sinology. Bin Wong recognizes the contributions and originality of early modern Japanese sources, much more abundant in testimonies produced directly by local societies than imperial China, thus offering
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 6, 2020
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