Qianlong’s letter to George III Essay, homework help


Content: You have to present a clear argument about
the topic and to develop the argument in the body of the answer. Your answer should
include specific evidence from the materials that we have covered in class
(textbook and PowerPoint). And you should clearly specify the additional materials, if any, that you refer
to for the answer (Author, book title, published year, or website address)Read the highlighted paragraphs of “Qianlong’s
letter to George III”, that is posted on Canvas, and try to answer the
questions below
Emperor Qianlong believed that a country does not
need to trade with another if it can produce everything with lower cost than its
potential trading partner. Try to
develop your answer about whether or not you agree with Emperor Qianlong’s
You may want to summarize the historical
development of the political economy from the 16th to the 21th
century and try to incorporate the concepts and theories in the each school of political
economy in your evaluation of Qianlong’s idea (such as theory of invisible
hand, comparative advantage, Pareto efficiency, Kaldor-Hicks criteria, etc). It
would be better if you can elaborate your idea on the proper and/or expected
role of government for dealing with the economic problems under different


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Qianlong’s Letter to George III
In the summer of 1793, after a nine-month sea voyage from England, the British expedition led by Lord Macartney dropped anchor to begin the
overland journey to the Imperial court at Peking. King George III’s ambassador had been instructed to deliver a personal letter from the king to the
emperor requesting permission to post a representative to the imperial court and allow the expansion of trade with China which, for all foreign
countries, could only be conducted under strict regulation at the southern port of Canton. The request was unprecedented and, as far as the
emperor was concerned, impossible to grant. The monumental arrogance and indifference to diplomatic niceties of the Son of Heaven conveyed in
the emperor’s refusal played its part in hardening the British attitude toward China, though it was to take another 50 years before China’s weakness
in the face of real military power was revealed in the Opium war:
You, O King, from afar have yearned after the blessings of our
civilization, and in your eagerness to come into touch with
our converting influence have sent an Embassy across the sea
bearing a memorial. I have already taken note of your
respectful spirit of submission, have treated your mission
with extreme favor and loaded it with gifts, besides issuing a
mandate to you, O King, and honoring you with the bestowal
of valuable presents. Thus has my indulgence been
Yesterday your Ambassador petitioned my Ministers to
memorialize me regarding your trade with China, but his
proposal is not consistent with our dynastic usage and cannot
be entertained. Hitherto, all European nations, including your
own country’s barbarian merchants, have carried on their
trade with Our Celestial Empire at Canton. Such has been the
procedure for many years, although Our Celestial Empire
possesses all things in prolific abundance and lacks no
product within its own borders. There
was therefore no need to import the
manufactures of outside barbarians in
exchange for our own produce. But as
the tea, silk, and porcelain which the
Celestial Empire produces are absolute
necessities to European nations and to
yourselves, we have permitted, as a
signal mark of favor, that foreign hongs
(Chinese business associations) should
be established at Canton, so that your
wants might be supplied and your
country thus participate in our
beneficence. But your Ambassador has
now put forward new requests which completely fail to
recognize the Throne’s principle to ‘treat strangers from afar
with indulgence’, and to exercise a pacifying control over
barbarian tribes, the world over. Moreover, our dynasty,
swaying the myriad races of the globe, extends the same
benevolence toward all. Your England is not the only nation
trading at Canton. If other nations, following your bad
example, wrongfully importune my ear with further
impossible requests, how will it be possible for me to treat
them with easy indulgence? Nevertheless, I do not forget the
lonely remoteness of your island, cut off from the world by
intervening wastes of sea, nor do I overlook your excusable
ignorance of the usages of Our Celestial Empire. I have
consequently commanded my Ministers to enlighten your
Ambassador on the subject, and have ordered the departure
of the mission. But I have doubts that, after your Envoy’s
return he may fail to acquaint you with my view in detail or
that he may be lacking in lucidity, so that I shall now proceed
to take your requests seriatim[one by one] and to issue my
mandate on each question separately. In this way you will, I
trust, comprehend my meaning.
(1)Your Ambassador requests facilities for ships of your
nation to call at Ningpo, Chusan, Tientsin, and other places
for purposes of trade. Until now trade with European nations
has always been conducted at Macao, where the foreign
hongs are established to store and sell foreign merchandise.
Your nation has obediently complied with
this regulation for years past without raising
any objection. In none of the other ports
named have hongs been established, so that
even if your vessels were to proceed thither,
they would have no means of disposing of
their cargoes. Furthermore, no interpreters
are available, so you would have no means of
explaining your wants, and nothing but
general inconvenience would result. For the
future, as in the past, I decree that your
request is refused and that the trade shall be
limited to Macao.
(2)The request that your merchants may establish a
repository in the capital of my Empire for the storing and sale
of your produce, in accordance with the precedent granted to
Russia, is even more impracticable than the last. My capital is
the hub and center about which all quarters of the globe
revolve. Its ordinances are most august and its laws are strict
in the extreme. The subjects of our dependencies have never
been allowed to open places of business in Peking. Foreign
trade has hitherto been conducted at Macao, because it is
conveniently near to the sea, and therefore an important
gathering place for the ships of all nations sailing to and fro. If
warehouses were established in Peking, the remoteness of
your country lying far to the northwest of my capital would
render transport extremely difficult . . . .
This request is also refused.
(3)Your request for a small island near Chusan, where your
merchants may reside and goods be warehoused, arises from
your desire to develop trade. As there are neither foreign
hongs nor interpreters in or near Chusan, where none of your
ships have ever called, such an island would be utterly useless
for your purposes. Every inch of the territory of our Empire is
marked on the map and the strictest vigilance is exercised
over it all: even tiny islets and far-lying sandbanks are clearly
defined as part of the provinces to which they belong.
Consider, moreover, that England is not the only barbarian
land which wishes to establish relations with our civilization
and trade with our Empire: supposing that other nations
were all to imitate your evil example and beseech me to
present them each and all with a site for trading purposes,
how could I possibly comply? This also is a flagrant
infringement of the usage of my Empire and cannot possibly
be entertained.
. . . . . . . . (7) Regarding your nation’s worship of the Lord of
Heaven, it is the same religion as that of other European
nations. Ever since the beginning of history, sage Emperors
and wise rulers have bestowed on China a moral system and
inculcated a code, which from time immemorial has been
religiously observed by the myriad of my subjects. There has
been no hankering after heterodox doctrines. Even the
European (missionary) officials in my capital are forbidden to
hold intercourse with Chinese subjects; they are restricted
within the limits of their appointed residences, and may not
go about propagating their religion. The distinction between
Chinese and barbarian is most strict, and your Ambassador’s
request that barbarians shall be given full liberty to
disseminate their religion is utterly unreasonable. It may be,
O King, that the above proposals have been wantonly made
by your Ambassador on his own responsibility, or
peradventure you yourself are ignorant of our dynastic
regulations and had no intention of transgressing them when
you expressed these wild ideas and hopes. I have ever shown
the greatest condescension to the tribute missions of all
states which sincerely yearn after the blessings of civilization,
so as to manifest my kindly indulgence. I have even gone out
of my way to grant any requests which were in any way
consistent with Chinese usage. Above all, upon you, who live
in a remote and inaccessible region, far across the spaces of
ocean, but who have shown your submissive loyalty by
sending this tribute mission, I have heaped benefits far in
excess of those accorded to other nations. But the demands
presented by your Embassy are not only a contravention of
dynastic tradition, but would be utterly unproductive of good
result to yourself, besides being quite impracticable. I have
accordingly stated the facts to you in detail, and it is your
bounden duty reverently to appreciate my feelings and to
obey these instructions henceforward for all time, so that you
may enjoy the blessings of perpetual peace.
If, after the receipt of this explicit decree, you lightly give ear
to the representations of your subordinates and allow your
barbarian merchants to proceed to Chekiang and Tientsin,
with the object of landing and trading there, the ordinances
of my Celestial Empire are strict in the extreme, and the local
officials, both civil and military, are bound reverently to obey
the law of the land. Should your vessels touch the shore, your
merchants will assuredly never be permitted to land or to
reside there, but will be subject to instant expulsion. In that
event your barbarian merchants will have had a long journey
for nothing. Do not say that you were not warned in due
time! Tremblingly obey and show no negligence! . . .
– three general types of knowledge.
• Descriptions of political facts:
– Population; GDP; numbers of legislative chamber etc
• Explanations of how and why politics occurs as it does
– “the cause produces the effect, and the existence of the cause is
the explanation of the effect” (Hempel, 1965)
– The key element of explanation is the principle of “same
cause, same effect”.
• Prescriptions of value judgment regarding what should
happen and should be done in the political world
– Preference among competing values: equality, tax, role of
government etc.
– Four essential characteristics of the scientific
• Science entails a search for regularities in the
relationship among phenomena – prediction
• Science is empirical in that it is concerned with
phenomena that can be observed, or at least measured.
• The method of science is testable
• Science is cumulative in nature; a knowledge base can
be established.

Scientific Thinking:

2. three requirements for Causation:1

1. Determining cause and effect: Correlation does not imply causation
– Correlation: a relationship between factors such that change in one is accompanied
by change in the other.
– Causation: a relationship between factors such that change in the value of one factor
is responsible for the change in the value of the other.
Cause must precede Effect
Cause must Covary with Effect
Free from Confounding
3. Did Sara Palin cause the GOP defeat in 2008?

• State of Nature:
• “War of all against all”
– Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651
• Social Contract
–agreement among members of a
society to form and recognize the
authority of a centralized
government that is empowered to
make and enforce laws governing
the members of that society
• Politics as Conflict: struggle over limited recourses and value

Politics is the struggle over power and influence within organizations or informal
groups that can grant benefits and privileges to their members.
Karl Marx: alienation/ class consciousness/ revolution
Max Weber: Social Stratification
• Politics as Cooperation, or Integration

Politics is the fundamental mechanisms that can resolve the conflict : Government;
process of rule, such as laws and public policy etc.
• The authoritative allocation of values for a society (David Easton)
– Government based on people’s consent (authoritative) will distribute (allocation)
money for welfare spending (values).
• Who gets what, when and how (Harold Lasswell)
– The elderly (who) are eligible for Social Security benefits (what) when they retire
(when), because they vote, they visit members of Congress, they send letters to Congress and
the President, and they protest (how).
–Legitimacy of a Government is based on the consent of the people
• What is public goods?1
• Non-rivalrous:
–it can be consumed by one more
individual without adding
anything to the cost of production.
• Non-excludable:
–people cannot be prevented from
consuming a good once it has
been produced
• Collective interest vs. Self-interest:1
− Tragedy of the Common:
rational choices produce sub optimal group
− Externalities: Positive & Negative2
− Free riders
• Totalitarian
• Authoritarian
• Aristocracy
• Theocracy
• Oligarchy
• Democracy
Rule by one
Rule by few
Rule by many
For the Common Good
For a Partial / Private
Tyranny / Despotism
rule of master over slaves
rule by the best elites
rule by few (wealthy, family
ties etc)
mixed regime, having
characteristics of all
rule by many (mob, poor)
– Democracy is good in itself and it has positive consequences
for individual freedom and domestic stability (Huntington
1991, The Third Wave)
– Joseph Schumpeter’s Minimalist definition:.1
• democracy is a system with regular ‘free and fair’ elections and
universal suffrage with at least two competing parties, each one of
which has a reasonable chance of winning
• The minimalist definition is criticized for its narrow scope which
ignores the given cultural or historical context of democracy
• However, this is one that has been most frequently employed in the
current empirical democratization studies.
• The ladder of abstraction (1970 Satori)2
– Why can some countries be democratized while others not?
What makes some democratic regimes survive while others
backslide to non-democratic ones?
– Seymour Martin Lipset 1959, Some Social Requisites of
• There is a strong correlation between the level of economic
development and the probability of being democracy.1
• Some researchers reduced Lipset’s arguments into a simple
correlation between level of income and democracy.
• But, in fact, Lipset assumes far more complicated concept of economic
development .
– Lipset does not intend to consider any particular one variable for the main
effect of economic development. Instead, he realizes that there are so many
components intertwined each other in reality2
– What Lipset really concerns is to find out “the syndrome of conditions”
favorable to democratization instead of establishing causal relationship of any
one factor.
– Lipset believes that increased wealth can change the social conditions that
will contain more receptive to democratic values such as political tolerance.
Lipset focuses on the political role of the middle class in promoting
• Przeworski and Limongi 1997, Modernization: Theories
and Facts
– consider Lipset’s theory as a simple correlation between per
capita income and democracy and raised critical questions
about the validity of Lipset’s causal mechanism.
– They try to falsify the relation between democracy and
development by exploring if development can make
democracy emerge (endogenous explanation), or
development help sustain democracy once it is established
(exogenous explanation).
– They, based on the empirical research, argue that the
endogenous democracy has no empirical basis. They do not
find that increase of income level make democracy more
likely to emerge1
– However they confirm that economic development makes
democracies sustain.
• Boix and Stokes 2003, Endogenous Democratization
– They challenge P&L by expanding the data set to a point that includes
cases from mid-19th century as opposed to post 1950 cases used by P&L.
– the statistical evidence not only confirms exogenous democratization, but
also confirms the fact that “per capita income has a strong positive and
statistically significant effect on transitions to democracy”
– They argue that inequality is associated with the regime type1
– “as countries develop, incomes become more equally distributed. income
equality means that the redistributive scheme that would win democratic
support” and democratization is possible when “the rich find a
democratic tax structure to be less expensive for them”. In other words,
democracy is most likely to occur when the elites expect that it will
be least threatening to themselves.2
– Acemoglu and Robinson 2006, Economic Origins of Dictatorship
and Democracy
• they basically assumes that democratization requires higher level of
inequality between elites and citizens in advance. The inherent conflict on
“greater political equality” between the elite (the rich) and the citizen
(the poor) is inevitable.
• It will make the opportunity of revolution getting lager and in the end
elites may want to start a transition by extending the franchise.1
• The citizens seek to acquire more political power2 to obtain more
favorable policy since the more political power one group has, the more it
will obtain from distributive policies.
• Once there occurs sufficient shift in de facto power (which reflects the
immediate balance of power between social groups, the elites and the
citizen), the citizens may try to redefine their de jure power (determined
by the set of power originated from the political institutions) – legalize
the new equilibrium of distribution
• In sum, the citizens prefer democracy because it will guarantee the level
of redistribution they prefer; however the elites prefer nondemocracy
because it will secure the preferred level of redistribution. “And the
balance of political power between the two groups determines whether
the society transits”.
• A comprehensive set of beliefs about the political world: about
desirable political goals and the best ways to achieve these goals 1
– Conservatism
– (Classical) liberalism
– Socialism
• Framed Idea
• Three fundamental concerns :
– Individual human nature.
– The proper relationship between the individual, state, and society.
– The desirability of establishing equality among individuals.
• “We Associate truth with convenience…with what closely accords
with self-interest and personal well-being or promises best to
avoid awkward effort or unwelcome dislocation of life….Economic
and social behaviors are complex…we adhere to those ideas
which represent our understanding.“ (John Kenneth Galbraith)
• conceptually “framed” opinion
– If the facts don’t fit your frames, the frames stay and the facts are easily
– But the frame itself is not a brand new thing at all. No matter if you intended or
not, your frame is based on the old philosophical background about what the
world is like (truth); about how can we acquire the knowledge of the world;
and of how do the things happen as they do.
− endorse governmental solutions to public problems vs.
national government has grown too large
− support social-welfare programs to help the disadvantaged vs.
social welfare programs should be limited
− government should intervene to ensure the economy runs
smoothly vs.
national government should not interfere with private sector
− Open to new social value system vs. preserve original social value
− oppose increased defense spending vs. national defense should be
− support civil rights vs. oppose gay rights
• Paradigm and Paradigm shift
 Thomas Kuhn (July 18, 1922-June 17, 1996) , The Structure of Scientific
Revolutions (1962)
−Started with a Ph. D in Physics, Late …
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