March 20, 2007

Wang Tao, "On Reform." Sources of Chinese Tradition. Vol 2: From 1600-through the Twentieth Century (Columbia Univ, 2000): 251-4.

"I know that in a hundred years China will adopt all Western methods and excel in them. For though both are vessels, a sailboat differs in speed from a steamship; though both as vehicles, a horse-drawn carriage cannot cover the same distance as a locomotive train. Among weapons, the power of the bow and arrow, sword and spear, cannot be compared with that of firearms; and among firearms, the old types do not have the same effect as the new. Although, it be the same piece of work, there is a difference in the ease with which it can be done by machine and by human labor. When the new methods do not exist, people will not think of changes; but when there are new instruments, to copy them is certainly possible. Even if the Westerners should give no guidance, the Chinese must surely exert themselves to the utmost of their ingenuity and resources on these things" (252-3).

written ca. 1870.



Blogger Ferndale Denizen said...

Yes, we might have listened to Napoleon and let sleeping dragons lie! God help us in the D when they rev up their auto production.


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