Silver Trade Dbq

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The increased flow of silver during the mid-16th century to the early 18th century caused social and economic effects in all regions connected with the trade by increasing the integration of Europeans in the globalization of world trade, while creating greater economic opportunities and causing growing social divisions within China. It would help to have a document from a Japanese merchant, to see if the effects of the silver trade affected the Japanese economy as much as it did the Chinese and Spanish. It would be nice to see a document from a Chinese farmer/peasant to see if the increased flow of silver affected their lifestyles as Document 3 or 5 suggests. The economic impact of the global flow of silver in Spain during this time period…show more content…
1,3 & 5. The official is urging people to be frugal so that they can use their silver to pay their taxes. He represents the Ming government whose first priority is to make sure people can pay their taxes. He refers to large spending on weddings as “extravagant” (and, therefore, wasteful) because such spending would make it harder for people to afford their tax payments (Doc. 1). Doc. 1 is showing the effects of the silver trade and how the silver is not moving through the economy as much, and therefore it stays in the same hands. These leads to a permanent lower social class who will suffer in order to survive because they don 't have the silver they need to buy goods. In document 3, Wang Xijue is a government official for Ming China. He is reporting that although the Chinese government is collecting a great deal of money in taxes, by demanding tax payments in silver the government is actually hurting the economy. Because all the silver is spent to pay taxes there is very little left for people to use to buy farm products or tools or to hire laborers. Since they cannot afford to pay much in silver prices and wages are dropping. This is driving some farmers out of business. This also leads to a lower social class with no silver to survive (Doc. 3). Document 5 tells us how the lower class in China is suffering because of the dominance of silver. They used to be able to buy things by making “in-kind” purchases (trading goods for goods). Now they must pay with silver. If they don’t have enough silver they must borrow from a “moneylender”. In all likelihood this means that many Chinese city dwellers are in debt, leading to cities with distinct social classes. The rich will continue to live a luxurious life with all the silver currency, while the poor will continue to suffer in search for money (Doc.
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