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9 - Public Finance

from Part II - 1000 to 1800

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2022

Debin Ma
Affiliation:
Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo
Richard von Glahn
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
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Summary

The long transition – often marred by violence – between Tang and Song discerned by Naitō Konan marked the advent of a new world. The An Lushan Rebellion (755–763) triggered profound political and military crises that shattered the institutions of the Tang dynasty, but also set in motion the slow progression of the market economy, which the Tang leadership began to see as the necessary means to restore its fiscal authority. With the collapse of the equal-field system of state land allocations in the wake of the rebellion, the Tang abandoned the principle of uniform, in-kind taxation of farming households as the basis of its fiscal and military systems. Urgent necessity prompted the adoption of new and more flexible fiscal strategies to secure revenues from commerce and consumption. The expansion of the market economy mitigated the Confucian elite’s traditional hostility toward commerce and acted as a key catalyst for the mercantilist policies pursued by the southern kingdoms during the first half of the tenth century.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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