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The Merchant Network In 16th Century China

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Chapter Summary

Merchants have played many roles of varying importance in the economy of China. Since the second millennium B.C. they have served to create economic links within Han and Inner Asian worlds, and this economic role has been of critical importance in forming a long history of specialization and exchange in the Chinese economy. The lower Yangtze valley, especially Suzhou, Hangzhou, Songjiang, and Nanjing, was the centre of textile production in the Ming, and its products were transported and sold throughout the country. The merchant network which put these products into circulation existed as a series of networks of different scope and at different levels in the economy. Zhang's argument for a successful lightening of commercial taxes comes from Mencius. Zhang's argument for lightening of taxes is backed by his own experience that it strengthens the economic power of the state. Such arguments had little appeal for Ming officials.

Keywords: Asian worlds; China; commercial taxes; lower Yangtze valley; merchant network; Ming Officials; Zhang Han



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