Twofish's Blog

July 30, 2006

Regional Chinese economics

Filed under: china — twofish @ 6:13 pm

One thing that I’ve been talking about a lot is how 18th/19th Chinese philosophies such as the Evidential school are deeply connected with the development of current Chinese science. On thing that hasn’t been studied is how they are connected with current Chinese economics. The expression “seek truth from facts” wasn’t invented by Deng Xiaoping, it was the slogan of the Evidential school of the 18th century. Also, 19th century astronomers and mathematicians in Zhejiang and Jiangsu come form “gentry-merchant” families, and this one could assume that these created some deep links between science and economics that haven’t yet been explored. But it is not a coincidence that my father is from Zhejiang, my doctorate degree is in numerical astrophysics, and I’m rather actively in issues of quantitative finance.

Something that one needs to be sensitive to however is “economic geography.” Just because something works in one part of China doesn’t mean that will work in another. Zhejiang and Jiangsu are provinces in which private businesses work really well, but one has to be careful of “one size fits all thinking.” Just because something works in Zhejiang doesn’t mean that it will necessary work in Liaoning or Sichuan, and taking a habit from the Evidential school, you have to be really, really, really careful to make sure that the conclusions that you make, follow from the facts that you see.

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