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China (1000-1600CE) economic - Research Paper Example

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In the course of industrial development in the 11th century, the Chinese developed technology that was sophisticated enough to use coal energy for iron production. During that century, iron production increased several-fold over what was produced previously…
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Download file to see previous pages Moreover, the production of coal was also increased and this was because an estimated one million households were using it every day for heating purposes.1 In those centuries, the light industry also continued to prosper in China and it included the making of porcelain, the building of ships and the textile industry. The making of textiles especially grew considerably and many families worked in this industry and depended on it to make a living.2 The rate of urbanization also increased as people realized that it was in the cities that wealth could be made. Several industries were heavily regulated by the government and these included the production of sulphur, which was a crucial ingredient in the production of gunpowder, which was then a new weapon component. The other industry that was under the government monopoly was the tea industry, whose revenues the government used to fund the equipment of its military. As for agricultural development in that period, there were great agricultural advancements and this was because the government encouraged and sponsored irrigation projects, which increased the amount of land that could be cultivated. Furthermore, the government often encouraged the peasants to cultivate more land so that they could produce enough food for themselves and the surplus could be kept for emergency purposes. A large variety of crops were cultivated and these included rice, which was a staple, and other specialized crops such as oranges and sugarcane which tended to be planted alongside rice. Many peasants sold the surplus of the food they had produced, and they further added to this income through the making of sculptures among other handicraft, and this ensured that they had a steady income to enable them to live comfortably. It was during this period that a new breed of rice, called champa, was introduced in China, which had more yields than the other types of rice planted before, and this ensured the food security of the entire population of this state for a long time to come.3 The structure of agricultural production also changes in such a way that, whereas before agriculture had either been dominated by the land owning aristocracy or self-sufficient peasants, in this period, agricultural production came to be dominated by a non-aristocratic land owning class. In this system, most of the farmers did not own the land, which they farmed, and instead, they were tenants to these new landowners. Commercial development. The merchant class of this time had become more sophisticated than its predecessors and not only was it well organized, but it was also very much respected in the Chinese society. These merchants through their business ventures managed to accumulate great wealth and it is said that this wealth even rivaled that of the educated class government officials. Many merchants were members of guilds, which were organized according to the sort of products they put on the market. Those tended to set the costs of the particular products that they sold.4 In the urban areas of China, the privately owned businesses dominated the markets in these cities. The most successful businesses in this period tended to be family owned enterprises and these experienced a fair amount of success as the quality of products from particular businesses was well known by their customers. The government’s lifting of all restrictions to trading activities greatly enhanced the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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