The construction of Chinese Economics began in early modern times. Some scholars discussed its system construction then, however, the current academic circle has not paid enough attention to this field. For the first time, this article systematically investigates the exploration of the research content construction of Chinese Economics in early modern times. By focusing on the achievements which have theoretical consciousness and are in line with the understanding of Chinese Economics at that time, this article in-depth mines the first-hand literature, classifies them into four categories, that is, with several theoretical and practical issues as the main components, with “philosophy-theory-policy”as the main component, referring to the “Das Kapital” system as the main component, and referring to the classical economics “Quartering” as the main component, and analyzes the points put forward by scholars with different theoretical backgrounds from the late 1920s to the 1940s.
This article mainly draws the following conclusions: First, the exploration has established a basic framework for the research content of Chinese Economics in the early modern context, covering a series of economic issues which include the historical evolution of China’s economy, the nature of China’s society, the operation of China’s economy, China’s production relations, industrialization and rural economy construction, fiscal and financial reforms and so on. Second, an important logic on system construction embodied in this process is that, based on absorbing the existing economic theories, the key point is to deeply explore the unique problems in the historical background of China’s economy and society that transformed from tradition to modern ones. Third, the early modern exploration failed to build a recognized mode of the research content which could be followed. The direct reason is that there was a lack of theoretical abstraction and refinement of the economic issues. The fundamental reason is that early modern China was short of a social background of basic stability and owned a backward economic research level. All these kept it away from the establishment of a mature and systematical economics.
The academic value of this paper could be concluded in three aspects: First, it proposes a research framework based on system construction, especially on the research content, and forms a new perspective to integrate the works of early modern Chinese Economics.Second, it closely surrounds the category of Chinese Economics, and excavates a series of first-hand historical document, thus expanding the literature in this field.Third, it systematically shows the achievements and progress of early modern Chinese Economics on the research content, and provides enlightenments for accelerating the construction of the Socialist Political Economics with Chinese Characteristics.