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Guiding Horses With Rotten Reins: Economic Thought In The Eighteenth-Century Kingdom Of Ryukyu

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the economic thought of Sai On. He was a Confucian scholar who became the Ryukyu kingdoms most powerful politician and most prominent intellectual. Economic prosperity was an essential and integral component of his vision of an ideal Confucian society. His principle on supply and demand was If money is plentiful and goods are few, the price will necessarily rise. If goods are many and money is scarce, the price will necessarily fall. This is the constant truth of mercantile activity. A prominent feature of Sai Ons Confucian economic thought was the close link between morality and material prosperity. He was concerned with pragmatic, real-world problems, not with advancing an academic agenda. The sort of pragmatic Confucianism, light on ideological formulas and grounded in empirical observations, seems to have been common in China and in Japan as well.

Keywords: China; Confucian; demand; economic thought; Japan; Ryukyu; Sai On; supply



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