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Economic growth and fluctuation in the early Qing Dynasty: From the perspective of monetary circulation

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The eighteenth century was the heyday of Chinese traditional economic development, that the monetization and sharp increase in the supply of silver stimulated long-distance trade and the rise of regional merchants groups, and increased industrial and agricultural production all reflecting the overall economic development of this period. Along with commoditization and monetization of the economy, monetary supplies and government financial behavior had increasing influence on the economy. The shortage of monetary supplies gave rise to three economic depressions: the early years of the Qing Dynasty, Jiaqing’s reign, and Daoguang’s reign. This study clearly indicates that the scholarly debate over the “stagnation” or “growth” of the Qing economy perhaps merely depends on the period of time and aspect of the economy one examines. The two viewpoints can be somewhat reconciled.


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