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Chinese History - Qin Period Economy

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The Qin dynasty, after unifying the territory later known as "China", took some contradictory measures to enhance the economical productivity of the empire. On the one side, money and weights and measures were standardized throughout all commanderies, leading to smoother transactions over longer distances. On the other side, the First Emperor and his successors ordered gigantic construction work in the Capital Xianyang and its surroundings as well as in other parts of the empire. The tomb of the First Emperor, the Epang Palace and the Great Wall are the most famous examples. Higher taxes and intensive corvée labour required from the peasants prevented the "national economy" from reposing after decades if not centuries of permanent warfare. The economic policy of the Qin was compared by the early Han period writer Jia Yi with that of a wartime economy kept running even in peacetime. The exploitation of the peasantry finally lead to uprisings that would bring the downfall of the dynasty.


October 30, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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