Xuan Zhao

Title: 'Wang Anshi's Economic Reforms: Confucian Economic Policies in Song Dynasty China and Their Proto-Keynesian Aspects'

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Drechsler

Opponent: Prof. Dr. Jan A. Kregel

Defense: 10 June 2016


Abstract: Current mainstream scholarly understandings of Wang Anshi‘s economic reform tend to belittle it as nothing but a government‘s pillage of people‘s wealth as well as a betrayal to Confucianism, and deny the existence of the parallel between the reform and modern western economic policy paradigms, especially the Keynesianism. But as long as understanding the original ideas of Wang Anshi‘s economic thought and his reforming policies, and comparing the those ideas with John Maynard Keynes‘ and Abba Lerner‘s thoughts, one would find Wang Anshi‘s reform was an endeavor to make Confucianism work in his time, because Confucian economic principles acted as the sources of ideas and the blueprint of the reform; and this endeavor well deserves the title of ―proto-Keynesianism‖, because both sides in this parallel reach consensus about the importance of government‘s expenditure to support aggregate demand, increasing inducement to invest, and state‘s control of economy in curing the economic depression of unemployment and preventing it from happening.

Keywords: Wang Anshi, Wang Anshi‘s Economic Reform, Confucianism, Confucian Economics, Zhouli, John Maynard Keynes, Abba Lerner, Keynesianism.