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This post was edited by LawrenceD at 2013-8-2 18:34|
Ah, the semi-literate punk is at it again, mouthing demented claims without any citations whatsoever. And there's more than a touch of insanity in the claim that the British brought "modern concepts of sanitation, city life, education," etc., etc. When idiocy meets ignorance, what we get is unmitigated impudence. When, during the Han dynasty or more popularly during the Song dynasty China already had toilet stalls in cities and towns, the Anglo-Saxons were still randomly peeing at the roadside or defecating without paper to wipe their asses. Not too long ago, a Tang child's diary, full of lament about homework, was found in the western part of Sinkiang - that's nearly 2,000 years ago, before there was an "England" and Englishers largely ignorant savages. Admittedly, the "schools" were more like small classes with limited number of tutors, but the first modernistic form of schooling - where children sat in rows facing the instructor - were already flourishing during the Song and that's many, many centuries before the West, not to say the barbaric Anglo-Saxon societies, had anything of the kind. And we already had pharmaceutical books before printing was even invented in Europe, not to mention Song Ci, the Song dynasty physician who wrote the first book on forensic medicine in world history.
The British imperialists were the greatest curse not only on the Chinese people, but also on India and much of the world. It was after the Opium wars that Chinese life-expectancy fell to about 30 or so years - less than 25 years if we look at the poorer segments of Chinese society. Mike Davis' "Victorian Holocausts" stated:
"....the eighteenth century was a golden age (in China) for theoretical and historical work on flood control and canal construction. Civil engineers were canonized and had temples erected in their honor. Confucian activists like Guancheng, with a deep commitment to agricultural intensification, 'tended to give top priority to investments in infrastructure and to consider the organization of food relief merely a makeshift.' Guancheng also wrote a famous manual ... that codified historically tested principles of disaster planning and relief managment: something else that has little precedent in backward European tradition ....
"Unlike their contemporary French counterparts, the farmers of the Yellow River plain (the vast majority of whom owned their land) were neither crushed by exorbitant taxes nor ground down by feudal rents. North China, in particular, was unprecedentedly prosperous by historical standards ... the percentage of the rural population ordinarily living near the edge of starvation - depending, for example, on husks and wild vegetables for a substantia] part of their diet - was less than 2 percent. As a result, epidemic disease, unlike in Europe, was held in check for most of the 'Golden Age.'"
Though the West was catching up in national development, according to Bairoch and later Maddison, "differences in income and wealth ... were relatively slight" (before then, there was, most of the time, simply no comparison in wealth or average life expectancy between the West and China).
Said Bairoch: "It is very likely that, in the middle of the eighteenth century, the average standard of living in Europe was a little bit LOWER than that of the rest of the world. When the sans culottes stormed the Bastille, the largest manufacturing districts in the world were still the Yangzi Delta and Bengal, with Lingan (modern Guangdong and Guangxi) and coastal Madras not far behind." India alone produced one-quarter of world manufactures, and while its "pre-capitalist agrarian labour productivity was probably less than the Japanese-Chinese level, its commercial capital surpassed that of the Chinese."
According the Davis, Prasannan Parthasarathi stated that the stereotype of the Indian laborer as a half-starved wretch in a loincloth collapses in the face of new data about comparative standards of living:"Indeed, there is compelling evidence that South Indian labourers had higher earnings than their British counterparts in the eighteenth century and lived lives of greater financial security." Because the productivity of land was higher in South India, weavers and other artisans enjoyed better diets than average Europeans. More importantly, their unemployment rates tended to be lower because they possessed superior rights of contract and exercised more economic power. But even outcaste agricultural labourers in Madras earned more in real terms than English farm laborers."
"....in the recent forum 'Re-thinking 18th Century China,' Kenneth Pomcranz points to evidence that ordinary Chinese enjoyed a higher standard of consumption than eighteenth-century Europeans: Chinese life expectancy (and thus nutrition) was at roughly English levels (and so above Continental ones) EVEN in the late 1700s. (Chinese fertility was actually lower than Europe's between 1550 and 1850, while its population grew faster; thus mortality must have been low.) Moreover, my estimates of 'non-essential' consumption come out surprisingly high. Sugar consumption works out to between 4.3 and 5.0 pounds per capita ca. 1750 - and much higher in some regions - compared with barely 2 pounds per capita for Europe. China circa 1750 seems to have produced 6-8
lbs. of cotton cloth per capita; its richest area, the Yangzi Delta (population roughly 31 million), probably produced between 12 and 15 lbs. per capita. The UK, even in 1800, produced roughly 13 lbs. of cotton, linen and wool cloth combined per resident, and Continental output was probably below China's."
Will discuss how British aggression, far from "bringing modern concepts" in this or that, destroyed China and India and turned them into Third World nations, later.