Monday, December 10, 2007

The anti-economist   posted by Razib @ 12/10/2007 03:06:00 AM

Reading The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han, and I was struck by passages extracted from The Book of Lord Shang, a work which supposedly encapsulates the thought of the Legalist philosopher & statesmen Shang Yang. In short, Shang Yang extols the virtues of the Malthusian Trap in perpetuating a stable & well ordered state! He believes that surplus only encourages mischief and social disorder, and any excess production should be burned away by wars of attrition so that the population is driven back to the margins of subsistence. Any surprise that Legalism was anathema for most of Chinese history despite the reality that the Qin state and its ruling philosophy had a significant practical impact upon how the Imperial system was structured?