The flow of silver during the mid-16th century to the early 18th century had a great impact on the social and economic aspects of many countries through trade. It had an effect on the land and on the value of silver. The idea of the Ming Chinese government, that all domestic taxes and trade fees be paid in silver created greater economic opportunities, but also caused a growing social division within China.
The global flow of silver during this time period caused many disputes and changes economically between involved countries. Ralph Fitch described trade conducted by the Portuguese between Macao and Japan. Fitch said that the Portuguese had a great advantage in China. They brought gold, perfume, and silk and other luxury goods from China. They had a ship that brought back 600,000 coins’ worth of Japanese silver yearly. Charles D’Avenant describes the English position on trade. D’Avenant was worried about the amount of trade that was sent to China and “buried” there. Europe didn’t receive anything back of solid use from China in return for the gold and silver. Tomas de Mercado tells us about the trade from China to the Spanish Philippines. The high prices of silver ruined Spain and made China richer. Mercado states, “The streets of Manila in the Spanish territory of the Philippines could be paved with granite cobblestones brought from China as ballast in Chinese ships coming to get silver.” This shows us how rich the Chinese were becoming by making people pay domestic taxes and trade fees in silver and the great amounts they were receiving.
Ye Chunji noted the differences between the “frugal” and the “extravagant” man in an order limiting wedding expenses. He says a poor person saves his money and has left over but a rich person that has a lot is never satisfied with what he gets. Wang Xijue tells us that the price of grain was cheap because there was so little money. The government required people to pay taxes in silver but they would...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document