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Chinese Domestic Interiors and “Consumer Constraint” in Qing China: Evidence from Yangzhou

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AbstractIn works that have profoundly influenced contemporary views of China’s economic growth relative to the Europe’s in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, Jan De Vries has concluded that “the East Asian industrious revolution is very much a supply-side phenomenon”, while Kenneth Pomeranz and R. Bin Wong among others have concluded that consumer restraint was a characteristic of eighteenth century society. These views are not supported by economic behaviour in Qing Yangzhou, where middle-brow writings show a marked attention to household décor and a high level of interest in material goods, including imports.

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