Social and Economic Effects of the Global Flow of Silver
China, Spain, and Europe affected the global flow of silver from the sixteenth century to the early eighteenth century, socially and economically. China affected the global flow of silver socially and economically. (Doc.
’s 1,3,5,7) In Document 1, the author believes that a frugal man with only one bar of silver can pay for his wedding and still have something left over, but an extravagant man can have thousands and still not have enough. The author feels this way because of his bias towards limiting wedding expenses as a county official.
From this once could infer, that county officials during this time period did not care much for large, extravagant weddings because they thought them to be a waste of valuable silver. An additional document such as a farmer’s journal containing his views on wedding expenses would help one better understand a common person’s views on the issue. In Document 3, the author is writing a report to the Ming emperor about the lowering grain prices and scarcity of silver coins.
Low grain production led to tillers of land receiving lower returns on the their labors, and less land being put into cultivation, thereby disrupting the economic flow of silver for labor or goods. This is important because it shows the dependence China’s economy put on silver. Document 5 describes the change in China’s economy. In the past, customers would trade livestock, food, or other goods in exchange for dyed clothes. In 1610, customers receive a bill which must be paid with silver. The author believes that silver has more value than the goods traded in the past, which is described in the author’s essay, “The Changing Times. The author feels this way because of the economy transformation from a barter economy to a money-based economy. In Document 7, the author believes that the 1626 ban of foreign trade should be repealed. The author feels this way because Spain is a foreign trade country that has large amounts of silver and pays elaborately for pottery works and other goods that come from China. From this one could infer that the author might have been a merchant who wants the ban lifted to acquire wealth in silver from Spain.