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石室剑桥高中记者站 学姐“转型”之作,论“为何资本主义没有在古代中国发展?”

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发表于 2018-11-8 15:41:11 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

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June现在已是一名高三学姐了,作为上届的学生记者站站长,曾为大家贡献过不少优秀作品,以文艺清新的随记、故事为主。成为学姐后,投来的稿件有了很大改变,不仅主动用英文写稿且自行翻译,主题也更具深入性和学术性(是有意识地在为文书和大学论文练手了吗),总之就是一个字--赞极了!
Why Capitalism Did Not Develop in Ancient China?
为何资本主义没有在古代中国发展?

The development of the Silk Road and early businesses in approximately one century BC has brought opportunities of economic growth in ancient China, fostering a sprout of capitalism.
丝绸之路与早期商贸的发展给中国带来了经济发展的契机,资本主义早期的萌芽悄然破土。
Nonetheless, China dropped behind the Western countries which capitalism was developed in as late as 11-12 century AD in almost all aspects during one night. The bulk of the people will ascribe this to the first two industrial revolutions China has missed, though, the reasons behind must be more intricate than this which should lead us into a deep thought.
然而,这样一个长期走在世界最前沿的文明古国却接连错过了两次工业革命,在思想、文化与经济等方面同时瞬间落后于十一二世纪才发展出资本主义的欧洲国家,其中的原因不得不令人思考。

The concept that “Businessman are people who only pay attention to profit but ignore the interpersonal sentiments” deeply rooted in every ancient Chinese mind. This result in businessman, as an occupation, was considered humble, procuring its unpopularity.
深深植根于中国古人心中的轻商重农的观念,使得商人变成一个不被追捧的行业。“商人重利轻情义”成为了脍炙人口的一句话。
In conventional Chinese culture, loyalty was lifted as the best character among all. To the contrary, the people who only pursue profits were regarded as villains.
在中国的传统文化中,情与义被赞美为高尚而君子的品德,反之,追逐利益则是小人的行为。
Confucius said: “The superior man is affable, but not adulatory; the mean man is adulatory, but not affable.” [1]Since in essence businessman are the group of people brought together by profit, they are labelled “villains” naturally.
君子和而不同,小人同而不和。”,商人本质上是被利益绑在一起的人群,自然被贴上“小人”的标签。
The main stream of celebrities in ancient China were all very poor but stacked to their dreams and maintain their tastes. The most prominent among them, despite had nothing but themselves, they consistently concerned about everything else aside from themselves.
而中国古代文人追求的是高尚的气节,附庸风雅,众多抒发志向的古文和古人本身的做法都表现出这一特点:刘禹锡的《陋室铭》,欧阳修的《醉翁亭记》,屈原、杜甫、李白等都是即使穷困潦倒也要维持节操的人。

In ancient times, the generals armed the country, the ministers set policies to rule the country, the farmers produced and supplied the whole country. They all devoted themselves to the development of the country to some extent. The businessman, by contrast, only cared about their own interests. Obviously, this is very distinct from the traditional Chinese values.
古代的将军保家卫国,文人治家护国,农民生产粮食,都是或大或小为家国社会奉献的人,反观商人,则是通过各种手段挣钱,为自己争取利益。这显然是与中华传统价值观格格不入的。至此,商人在中国古代的地位相当低下,纵使有钱也没有用。
However, Christianity also discourages pursuing personal interests. Why Capitalism grew so successfully in Western Europe?
但是基督教也不提倡争取个人利益,为何资本主义在欧洲就发展地如此成功呢?

It is the existence of Christianity which provided the route to the development of Capitalism. Because of the long-lasting conflicts between church and sovereignty, the power of monarch has been dispersed and hence, undermined, restricting the freedom of the monarchy. This can be represented by the rituals like coronation, which was acted by the bishops.
正是因为基督教的存在,才提供了资本主义发展的阶梯。因为欧洲中世纪广布的教会教廷的存在,政府的权力被分散与削弱,国王要由教廷成员加冕等规定极大地限制了政府的自由
One of the most well-known examples which monarchs wanted to acquire more power was the religious revolution in England, which was fired by Henry VIII’s willingness of divorce.
英国的宗教改革就是英格兰国王亨利八世为了争取离婚的权力而产生的。

Medieval traders thus made a bilateral deal with the governments: traders granted a loan to the governments to offer them adequate funds to remain the function of the government. In the meantime, governments promised corresponding administrative power, procuring the convenience of trading.
中世纪欧洲商人于是与政府合作:商人借贷给政府,提供给他们资金来维持政府的运作与庞大的开销,而政府则给了商人相应的行政权力,使得行商变得更加方便。
Unlike in China and Arabic Empire, businesses had deeply penetrated into politics in Europe. Traders had individual legislative power and can avoid being ruled by the local governments. Using these privileges, traders were able to create a lot of conveniences for themselves.
在欧洲,商业深深地参与到了政治之中,商人有时会在某个地区组建自己的小议会从而制定相关法规来鼓励行商。
Sometimes, the government will become a shareholder of certain businesses. For instance, Columbus’s voyage was favoured by the Spanish Queen, Isabel; and the advocator of the English pirate’s fleet was actually Elizabeth I of England.
有时候政府也会成为一笔商业的股东,例如哥伦布西行时西班牙伊莎贝拉女王的投资,或者英国海盗舰队的金主其实是英格兰的伊丽莎白一世女王。

It is hard to imagine that the first one who ever set foot on the shore of Virginia State, US, was in fact a pirate without support on a legal ground. And this relation, is funded on the premise that the government lacked of financial power because of the constraint from religious institutions and so.
如果不是这种双边利好的关系,很难有人会想象第一个探索美国弗吉尼亚州并给此州命名的人居然是个海盗头子。而这种关系,正是建立在政府权力被教廷制约之上,政府想要获得更多权力就只能从民间寻求帮助了。
Ruling power in China, on the contrary, was more focused, and the government was of more financial back-up. By levying taxes or so, the most capitals accumulated are transferred into the national treasury, enfeebling the capitalism which was just formed.
而相比之下,中国权力更加集中,政府很富足,也不太喜欢有人比它更富,于是通过赋税等手段,资本家积累起来的资本很容易就都充公到了国库中,将尚在摇篮里的资本主义扼杀。

In a Chinese history book, there are two methods to become a billionaire: the first is to be a corrupted minister, the second is the one who is a member of royal family. Few successful traders have been recorded.
在中国史书中,富甲一方的人大约有两种,一种是贪官,另一种是皇亲国戚。很少有成功商人会被载入史书。
The factors which are significant in production have never become a constraint because they are scant to the self-sufficient economy in ancient China (in normal circumstances). The convention inherited from the antiquity, was famously sang: “man can do farming while women can do weaving”. The demand within the family was first satisfied and sold out anything redundant within the community has been a solid thought for the grounded people in ancient China.
因为生产力与资源富足等因素,中国的经济自古以来就是自给自足。从远古流传下来的传统,男耕地来女织布,先满足自家的需求,有富余的才拿出去卖。

As a result, family has become a so indispensable thing in Chinese culture which is also seen today, since family was not only a group of people connected by the blood relation, but also a “company” of production and making lives. On the other hand, however, a more intricate and efficient production process have never been invented, which was responsible for the very limited accumulation of capital.
因此,家国思想的地位在这种生产过程中变得逐渐无可替代,更复杂更多样化的生产工序例如集体生产却从未产生,造成了极其有限的资本积累。
This kind of positive attitude (it can be a form of lacking of knowledge) make no one is willing to innovate and make change to the lives. Meanwhile, this interprets why Chinese inventing gunpowder to make fireworks whilst it is used by the westerners to make guns and other weapons.
这种极易被满足与乐观的生活态度(也许是知识匮乏的某一种形式)也让无人想要发展出更多的东西,没有创新。这同时也解释了为什么中国人制造火药来放烟花,而西方人却用来做枪支与别的武器。
NOTE
[1]《The Analects-Zi Lu》, translated by James Legge.
Written by June Du

Grade 2020


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