In past century, "emergence of capitalism" in China has been one of "five golden flowers" of historical research. Under social background of time, scholars and scholars believed that since then, China has entered stage of socialism. So, before there was capitalism. Therefore, many argue that China has the germs of capitalism, but it is not fully developed.
At beginning, people put forward "Song Dynasty Theory" and "Ming and Qing Theory" of origin of capitalism, because many scholars believed that handicraft workshops and labor relations appeared in handicraft industry in this era. Later, scholars discovered that Chinese handicraft factories really appeared a long time ago, so they put forward “Warring States Theory”, “Western Han Theory”, “Sui and Tang Dynasties”, “Yuan Dynasty Theory”, etc. It seems that whole of China is this is history of capitalism. The Chinese of that time had a "capitalist" complex, which was a manifestation of nationalism. Many historical scholars believe that since there is capitalism in West, there must have been capitalism in Chinese history. They study history with mentality of "others just like us: Chinese are no worse than Westerners, and West can produce capitalism, so why can't China not study history, which will inevitably lead to deviations and distortions in historical research.
In fact, China is a typical country of agricultural civilization, and agriculture is foundation of country. The country's tax revenue mainly comes from agriculture, country's upper class comes from landlords, and country's soldiers and corvées come from country's lower class of farmers. The state must take strong measures to tie peasants to land and force them to cultivate land, pay taxes and submit to corvée. The emphasis on agriculture and suppression of trade, restriction of land mergers, maritime bans, and closure of country to outside world are all reflections of an agricultural civilization. In ancient Chinese society, merchants were tied to agriculture and had no social status. So when businessmen get rich over time, they too will buy real estate in wheat fields and become landowners. Therefore, in ancient China there was no soil for germination of capitalism.
New textbook uses Matteo Ricci's map to show how China's thinking during Ming Dynasty lags behind West
Influenced by "Rise of Capitalism" theory in last century, secondary school Chinese history textbooks have long included rise of capitalism. For example, in second lesson of Compulsory 2 (Economic History) Public Education Publication High School, there is an excerpt from "The Progress of Ancient Handicraft" that specifically refers to birth of capitalism: "In Middle and Late Ming Dynasty, with development of social production and commodity economy , some handicraft industries in south of Yangtze River began to have capitalist production relations, which in academic circles was called capitalism. In Qing dynasty, capitalism continued to develop. Moreover, what are characteristics of using "Learning and Reflection Window" to help students explore rise of capitalism?
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However, content of history textbooks is not necessarily completely correct, so history textbooks need to be constantly reviewed. In 2020, latest high school history textbooks will be rolled out nationwide. In this textbook, birth of capitalism will no longer be included in text. The obligatory "Outline of Chinese and Foreign History" of new textbook "Economic Development and Restrictions" in 15th lesson "Economics and Culture of Ming and Qing" talks about economic development and existing problems of Ming and Qing dynasties. The new textbook introduces achievements of handicraft production in Ming and Qing dynasties as follows: “All branches of handicraft production have advanced to varying degrees. At end of Ming Dynasty, new business methods emerged in industries such as silk weaving, oil pressing, and porcelain manufacturing in some southern areas. That is, opening of workshops and use of free wage labor for larger production. This situation continued to develop during Qing Dynasty.
New textbook content
Regarding limited economy of Ming and Qing dynasties, textbook writes: “However, from point of view of whole society, self-sufficient traditional small-scale farming with male farmers and female weavers still occupies an overwhelming advantage. Increasingly rigid autocratic rule also suppresses and hinders progress and transformation of society. While Western countries are making great strides in modern industrial civilization, Chinese society is still stagnant, laying groundwork for falling behind and failing." /p>
There is no mention of birth of capitalism in text of textbook, but it is noted in column "Reading historical materials": Some scholars believe that this mode of production is similar to an early form of Western capitalist production relations, and this is called "capitalism". Germination of Doctrine. Compared to previous PEP textbooks, birth of capitalism is quoted here, and these are just views of some scholars. In past, People's Education Edition was directly instilled as knowledge points.
Related content of new tutorial
Obviously, a lot of progress has been made in history books. Some controversial concepts in academia are no longer mandatory for students, but this point of view is presented. It also shows that our historical education is moving towards rationalization. In past, many people read textbooks and believed that China had "seeds of capitalism" and even took this as evidence of prosperity of industry and trade under Ming Dynasty. Now we can say goodbye.
Related content of new tutorial