The flow of silver from the mid-sixteenth century to the early eighteenth century led to social and economic changes in Europe and China. In China, the standard of living increased, common people became poor, and a form of currency was developed, along with this came the Chinese becoming more ethnocentric due to large amounts of silver flowing in. In Europe. they became middlemen for Japan and China, but made little to no profit due to their demand for Asian luxuries which led to imbalance in trade. European scholars were very aware of the imbalance of the trade between Europe and China.
In China, socially, the standard of living increased.
For example, people began spending a great of money on weddings and such, and orders were sent out to limit the amounts spent on weddings in the 1570s. People desired more, no amount was enough (Doc 1). Most of the changes were economic changes however. Chinese citizens began to face poverty. A court official, which was very odd to his opinion being very unpopular with the government (POV), reported that citizens were receiving very little work for their labor due to the prices of grain falling. Also, it was said that although the government was demanding silver for taxes, they were distributing very little to citizens (Doc. 3) A form of currency was also being developed, dye shops began only accepting silver on spot, rather than being able to barter for other goods such as rice and wheat. This also led to a banking system because citizens needed a place to keep their silver, which also meant banking jobs. However, it slowed down the internal economy because customers had to pay on spot, where rather than being charged on a tab and finishing the trade right then and there, they had to go and get money from a bank, come back then pay (Doc 5). The Chinese were also becoming more ethnocentric. The large amount of silver flowing to them because of many nations buying all their goods caused this. They’d export goods...
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