China And Europe During The Second Millennium History Essay

Equally far as economic analysis is concerned, get downing with Thomas Hobbes Leviathan, we need the province. This essay will sketch the cardinal characteristics of Olson ‘s statement that autarchy is better than lawlessness, democracy is better that autarchy and these will be analyzed in the context of China and Western Europe by contrasting the gradual outgrowth of democracy in Europe after the autumn of mediaeval feudal system with the bossy bureaucratism predominating in China throughout the 2nd millenary.

One the modern economic experts who assumed an statement explicating the difference between lawlessness and the province was Mancur Olson. His chief premise is that a stationary brigand ( the province ) is better than a rolling brigand ( a mention to anarchy ) . The ground is that the stationary brigand can work his victims in the long-run and will therefore, avoid overexploiting them. He will reapportion his topics ‘ income to himself up to the point where decreased inducements would take to decrease revenue enhancement returns ( through the alleged Laffer curve ) . A rolling brigand, on the contrary, would steal, kill and ravish, as he is non certain that another brigand will non hold served himself following clip. Hence, citizens are better under province dictatorship than in violent lawlessness.

This statement assumes that the province does non steal the money it revenue enhancements off for its ain net income, because without its protection, income would be lower than the income after revenue enhancement. Therefore, autarchy is normally much better for the people than lawlessness. But even a stable autarchy will non last for a long clip, because all tyrants die and create sequence jobs. Tyrants besides try to spread out their grosss by feeding on their neighbors. On the contrary, democracies do non travel to war with each other and they can manage the sequence job in a legal ( Olson 1993 ; 571 ) and stable mode and make a more across-the-board involvement in future. Such democracies do non annex investings or violate trades.

A democratic authorities regulations wholly in the involvements of the bulk that keeps them in power, but it normally exploits the minority in the same manner the autarchy is working all its topics. The chief point Olson makes is that democracy ( even in the instance of a dictatorship of the bulk ) is better than autarchy, chiefly in economic footings. The tyrant is a self-interested single whose actions are based on his returns on investing – the higher the returns, the greater the inducement to take action to supply beneficiary public goods. The tyrant besides has a motive to pull out the biggest possible excess from the people for his ain single intent. This occurs in the signifier of revenue enhancements where the dictator exploits a revenue-maximizing rate of revenue enhancement where the additions to the people are the reciprocal of the returns ( Olson 1993 ; 570 ) to the tyrant ( point T on the Laffer curve ) .


Tax rate

Laffer curve


Democratic swayers, nevertheless, may be aggravated by similar opportunism. But, in democracies the maximal revenue enhancement rate is lower than that of the tyrant. Even a little addition in the revenue enhancement rate reduces the national income well while a little decrease in revenue enhancements increases the national income to such an extent that revenues remain the same. But, in add-on, a cut in revenue enhancement rate will raise private incomes of democratic bulk. With a democratic bulk, the optimum revenue enhancement rate will be below T on the Laffer curve. It pays a opinion involvement to halt redistributing income to itself when national income falls by reciprocal of portion of national income it receives. So, democracy is good for the economic system if there is sufficient embracing involvement.

The issue now is to use these theories to the illustration of China in the 2nd millenary. First, Madison believes that per capita GDP was stable in China ( Maddison 1998 ; 1 ) , compared with diminution in European life criterions after the prostration of the Roman Empire. China illustrated both parts of Olson ‘s theory of autarchy. Chinese provinces raised life criterions above Europe during 1st millenary by operating as stationary brigand, while Europe returned to pandemonium of lawlessness in the Dark Ages following the autumn of the Roman Empire. As we can see in table 1, even in 1280, China ‘s GDP per capita was higher than in Europe but this began to stagnate. Although Chinese provinces evolved into meritocratic bureaucratism ( Maddison 1998 ; 2 ) during 2nd millenary, it blocked development by smothering any other possible power base, including merchandiser category.

The job of China associated with Mancur Olson ‘s theory of autarchy was the power administrative officials enjoyed in the province ( from 7th century on ) . In contrast to Europe, there was no church hierarchy or philosophy to compensate bureaucratic power ( Maddison 1998 ; 3 ) . There were no attorneies or judicial proceeding in China and hence there were really limited possibilities of disputing bureaucratic determinations. Urban middle class ( chiefly merchandisers ) was regardful to bureaucratism and dependant on their good will ( Maddison 1998 ; 4 ) . Guilds had no metropolis charters and legal protection enjoyed by European merchandisers from Middle Ages on. Bureaucrats had about entire control.

Such system had negative effects on the economic system. Apart from agribusiness for which the bureaucratic system was good ( Maddison 1998 ; 4 ) , the Chinese system had mostly negative effects. The bureaucratism prevented the outgrowth of independent commercial and industrial category seen in Europe. Entrepreneurial activity was insecure in the model where legal protection for private activity was unequal ( Maddison 1998 ; 4 ) . What European democracy experienced was competition between legal powers in Europe limited power of provinces to stamp down merchant category whereas in bossy China, centralisation meant that disgruntled merchandisers could non take their capital to another province. Therefore, it can be said that although China had advantages of a stationary brigand over a wandering brigand ( this relates to the Mongol interlude in thirteenth century ) ( Maddison 1998 ; 2 ) , compared with Europe, it had disadvantages of autarchy compared with democracy.

The point when Europe overtook China in footings of economic development was during the Mongol interlude ( 1279-1368 ) when population fell by more than 30 % to 68m ( compared to 100m in 1280 – harmonizing to table 2 ) , partially due to the initial ferociousness of the Mongol conquering, but besides as a consequence of pestilence which struck China at the same clip as Black Death in Europe ( Maddison 1998 ; 7 ) . The Mongols razed many metropoliss, inflicted great harm on agribusiness, enserfed or enslaved portion of the rural population and began to pastoralise the economic system to supply croping for Equus caballuss ( Maddison 1998 ; 8 ) . We can presume that with a autumn in the population, the economic development in China stagnated, but this was initiated when the wandering brigand ( the Mongols ) invaded China, once more turn outing Olson ‘s point. Under the bossy Ming dynasty, population growing has been restored making 162m in 1580 but during the mid-17th century fell once more by 30 % due to combination of ferociousness during the passage between governments ( from Ming to Ch’ing ) . As a consequence of autarchy ( and anarchy from the Mongols ) , China stayed behind Europe during the 2nd millenary.

In decision, in a celebrated paper, Olson ( 1993 ) assumed that under lawlessness, uncoordinated competitory larceny by “ rolling brigands ” destroys the inducement to put and bring forth, go forthing small for either the population or the brigands. Both can be better off if a brigand sets himself up as a dictator ( a stationary brigand ) who monopolizes and rationalizes larceny in the signifier of revenue enhancements. He has an embracing involvement in supplying a peaceable order and other public goods that addition productiveness. Whenever an tyrant expects a brief term of office, it pays him to impound those assets whose revenue enhancement output over his term of office is less than their entire value. This implies that autarchies will seldom hold good economic public presentation for more than a coevals. A democratic leader, nevertheless, does non force revenue enhancement rate to gross maximising degree and this helps to prolong good economic public presentation. To turn out this point, an illustration of Chinese public presentation was shown. Until the Mongol invasion, China was thriving good, but the visual aspect of a wandering brigand ( the Mongols ) with an bossy government of the Ming-Ch’ing dynasties let to periods of diminishing population which had an consequence on falling GDP of the Chinese provinces. Therefore, Olson ‘s statement can be proved by comparing China and Europe in the last millenary.

Table 1 – GDP pre capita















Beginning: Maddison ( 1998 )

Table 2 – Chinese population ( 000s )











































Beginning: Maddison ( 1998 )