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15 - The Monetary System

from Part II - 1000 to 1800

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2022

Debin Ma
Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo
Richard von Glahn
University of California, Los Angeles
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Money serves as a means of exchange in any society and in any period. However, depending on place and time, money exhibits distinct characteristics. Chinese imperial monetary history spotlights a blind side about money that mainstream thinking overlooked. Chinese historical experience is replete with examples of money use transcending the theoretical frameworks of those who attribute the acceptability of money to its intrinsic value as well as those who emphasize enforcement by public authorities. Chinese monetary history may appear highly irregular from the viewpoints of contemporary foreign observers and modern social science, but a coherent system surely existed in an endogenous way behind the apparent disorder.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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Further Reading

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