China's Path to Modernity
Smoking factory chimneys, the rapid growth of industry, trade and consumption – these have been the features of Western modernity from the middle of the 19th century. Quite the opposite in China: here the dawn of a new age was linked not to signs of an upswing, but of economic decline. And it was not the development of industry that marked the beginnings of modernity, but the trade in drugs. The English merchants acted as dealers and flooded the Chinese market with, for the most part, Indian opium.