It is not unusual for journalists from leading publications to turn their hand to books, but it is less usual for such books to have started off in Chinese. Jin Xu is senior editor and chief financial commentator at the Financial Times Chinese and her 2017 monetary history of China, Empire of Silver, has just been released in English in a translation from the well-regarded Stacy Mosher.

The Religious Ethic and Mercantile Spirit in Early Modern ChinaYing-shih Yü, Yim-tze Kwong (trans), Hoyt Cleveland Tillman (ed.) (Columbia University Press, March 2021)
The Religious Ethic and Mercantile Spirit in Early Modern China, Ying-shih Yü, Yim-tze Kwong (trans), Hoyt Cleveland Tillman (ed.) (Columbia University Press, March 2021)

Why did modern capitalism not arise in late imperial China? One famous answer comes from Max Weber, whose The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism gave a canonical analysis of religious and cultural factors in early modern European economic development. In The Religions of China, Weber contended that China lacked the crucial religious impetus to capitalist growth that Protestantism gave Europe.

“Do androids dream of electric sheep?” famously asked science fiction writer Philip K Dick, obliquely hinting at a universal—and longstanding—human obsession with dreams and our relationship with them. Robert Ford Campany, in his The Chinese Dreamscape, 300 BCE-800 CE, approaches the subject of dreams—as do many other people—in terms of personal psychology. It is difficult to overstate how influential Freud and Jung have been in framing our modern understanding of dreams as expressions of our anxieties, fixations and unconscious drives.