Has China ever been at the center of the global economy? It has become a trope of both Western and Chinese writing about China’s economic resurgence to talk about China resuming its “rightful place” at the center of the global economy. Leaving aside the rightfulness of it — who has a right to be the center of the world? — it is also doubtful that the global (or even the Eurasian) economy was ever centered on China. The world’s economy simply wasn’t global until the sixteenth century, and by the time it did become global, China was decidedly on the edge.
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