Four recent studies of the modern Chinese economy show how the disciplines of economics and history have produced different judgments about the economic changes of the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. These differences are overridden, however, by shared disciplinary concerns with problems of inequality and the growth of the modern state. Economists have demonstrated statistically that regional variations (particularly urban-rural differences), coupled with the size of the Chinese polity, continue to pose many of the same administrative problems for the modern state that they posed during the late empire and in turn have produced some similar strategies for ruling. These enduring problems are located squarely in the order of production in China's agrarian peasant communities and in the logistical problems of distributing what is produced there through an integrated political and economic system.

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