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Showing posts from January, 2016

Knowledge Is Power Notes

So, yeah, I found the imperial Chinese civil service interesting enough to write a substantial article about it. This is very much about a social technology: the cultivation and staffing of a bureaucracy capable of administering a major empire. For China, this involved several prerequisite and accompanying technologies: a well-developed body of philosophy to serve as the basis for exams, a population wealthy enough to support a population of scholars providing the necessary human resources, reasonably inexpensive writing media, and a physical infrastructure of dedicated testing facilities. 

I wrote a couple of paragraphs which I ultimately cut, partly for space (I went rather longer than projected on this one) and partly because I didn't think they quite fit. But for anyone interested, here they are:

Senior Scholars

Persistence in the face of repeated failure in the exams posed certain problems for administrators. The nominal age of retirement from the civil service was 70, but t…