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Les importations de métaux monétaires en Chine: essai sur la conjoncture chinoise
Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales
36e Année, No. 3 (May - Jun., 1981), pp. 454-466
Published by: EHESS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27581310
Page Count: 13
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The dissymetry of Sino-European trade in the 17th and 18th centuries is familiar to historians, who generally interpret this as resulting from the impact of a dynamic economy (Europe) on a static world (China). Analysis of the monetary mechanisms prevalent in China suggest an alternative interpretation. China's conversion to silver in the course of the 15th and 16th centuries led to the institution of a silver/bronze sapek bimetallism which obliged the authorities to intervene constantly to maintain the internal exchange rate. China was to a large extent dependent on external trade for its metal currency supplies, and followed a mercantilist policy in fact if not in name. Examination of priceseries points to a combination of measures designed to stimulate production, or the import, alternately of silver and copper in response to the international economic situation, in which 17th century Japanese growth may well have played a key role, hitherto underestimated by Western historiography.
Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales © 1981 EHESS