The Guilds of Peking

The Guilds of Peking

The Guilds of Peking

The Guilds of Peking


The study of Chinese guilds has a wide range of theoretical and practical interest. To the economic historian it brings fresh material on contemporary economic organizations that are similar in many respects to the guilds of Medieval Europe. It may even throw some light on much disputed problems of medieval history. Of interest, also, is the understanding that such a study gives of the basic form of the economic structure of China and of the effects of the impact of Western industrial and commercial expansion.

To the economist the study is of interest because it affords a glimpse of contemporary pre-capitalistic, industrial and commercial organization and reveals a process of transformation from one economic system to another.

To the student of political science the relation of government to the guild system is of interest. The way in which a non-governmental group assumed and carried out functions considered in the West to pertain to municipal government, throws light upon the nature of political control.

To the sociologist the study is of significance because it depicts an early type of organization in industry, government and religion and also portrays the disintegration of an ancient social organization.

Such an investigation is also one of practical import to all interested in the early and harmonious readjustment of Chinese social life at a time of chaotic political, economic and social transformation.

Moreover, light may be thrown upon such questions as the following:

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