In this purview of world history, should I try to include China? Or is China a step too far? The problem with China is that although it is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest historical stories, and one that comes down to the present day, I feel that in my characterisation of barbarism and civilisation, China comes out on the side of barbarism, and never achieves the status of what I call civilisation. Why not?
These preliminary notes, look at just three aspects. Firstly there is a run through of Chinese history based on, or perhaps rather stimulated by Ian Morris’s book Why the West rules – For Now.
Secondly, I then take a preliminary look at the problem of money. Money developed in China almost at the same time as in Greece, and became very common throughout subsequent Chinese history. Yet China remained a centralised and very bureaucratic state: how far did it develop a monetary economy, and how was money really used?
And thirdly I have a short page simply asking the question: what were Chinese towns like? I really have no idea, and this is one of the things that I need to find out.