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CHAPTER TWO: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHINESE AND WESTERN ECONOMIC THEORIES

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Chapter Summary

The objectives of Chinese economics are derived from the principles common to the theories of all Chinese economists. Both the Confucianists and the Legalists regarded agriculture as the basic economic activity, although they differed with regard to commercial policy. Following the period of the West Han dynasty, Chinese economic theories, systems, and policies were gradually unified in accord with the teachings of the Confucianists. Kuan's policy was to organize the farmers and give them military training, and by this means he made the entire population of Ch'i potential soldiers. The people's livelihood and national defense were thus provided for simultaneously. Those who emphasized the importance of agriculture advocated a laissez-faire policy and concentration on agriculture as the only productive enterprise. Although Western economic theories differed, their origin was similar. All of them sought to explain existing economic phenomena in terms of human wants.

Keywords: Chinese economics; Confucianist; Kuan's policy; laissez-faire policy; legalist; West Han dynasty; Western economic theories

10.1163/9789004212732_014
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