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Old March 27th, 2015, 11:13 AM   #41
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To give you an idea how much money was worth during the Song dynasty,
Ringing some bells...
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government officials made between 300 to 300,000 cash a month depending on rank (not including separate money they got for clothing and supplies). A fine horse would've cost you about 40,000 cash (40 guan). A mule, 4,000. A bolt of high-quality silk cost around 2,500 cash. A day laborer made 200 or 300 cash a day.
In other words, government officials made as much in a whole month as day labourers in a day?

What rank of officials, on which official obligations?
Were they part-time officials who were permitted to work just one day a month and have another job in the meantime, like village elders with main job working as a rich peasant?
Or were they working for state as a part of their tax obligations, and getting pocket money back below the cost of the job?
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A large bag of rice would cost you around 250 cash. A bag of salt would be 40 cash. You could build yourself a nice little house for 100,000,
In other words, the day labourer needed his whole wages of 330 to 500 days (11 to 17 months) to build a nice little house. Minus whatever he needed for his food and clothing, so building house took accordingly longer.

When in 1132, Hangzhou was made capital, how long did it take to build nice little houses for all the labourers who came to seek their fortunes in capital?
Did the labourers own their houses, or rent them?
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Old March 27th, 2015, 02:46 PM   #42

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Ringing some bells...

In other words, government officials made as much in a whole month as day labourers in a day?
In some cases, sure. Some low-ranking officials just starting out made very little. Your first assignment might be teaching in a rural elementary school, or just being a nameless clerk in some minor official's office. Not very glamorous work. There were extra stipends for various expenses, so they did make a little more than what the official salary was.

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What rank of officials, on which official obligations?
Were they part-time officials who were permitted to work just one day a month and have another job in the meantime, like village elders with main job working as a rich peasant?
Or were they working for state as a part of their tax obligations, and getting pocket money back below the cost of the job?
I've never seen a detailed breakdown for what different officials of different ranks made (there were nine grades, each with a senior and junior rank), just general ranges. Most officials were career officials. It generally wasnt a part time job for many people. You had to pass the civil service exams (which required years of preparation and study), or have friends in high places who could pull strings and get you work. You started at the bottom (again, unless you had connections) and had to work your way up to better positions. The official most ordinary farmers and peasants dealt with was the county magistrate who lived in the county capital. Individual villages had their own officials too, but they were usually local people chosen to do things like collect taxes, etc. rather than career officials (those were the tax-obligated positions you mentioned. Everyone in the village got their turn to fill them).

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In other words, the day labourer needed his whole wages of 330 to 500 days (11 to 17 months) to build a nice little house. Minus whatever he needed for his food and clothing, so building house took accordingly longer.
Well just like today, buying a house takes a lot of money. You have to make a decent living to do it. A day laborer was a pretty lowly job. I'm assuming they didnt save much and spent their money s they made it. Many were probably rural farmers who came to cities to get extra work. Most were probably just people with no other skills. I assume they lived pretty meagerly.
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Old March 27th, 2015, 04:30 PM   #43

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In other words, government officials made as much in a whole month as day labourers in a day?

What rank of officials, on which official obligations?
This is actually pretty common in Chinese history for low ranking officials to have lower or equal wages to that of day laborers, nor is this even unique to Chinese history.
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Old March 27th, 2015, 11:11 PM   #44

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Of course smaller territory isn't always a bad thing, and larger territory isn't always a good thing, it depends on your perspective.
Interesting view. And I thought one would usually think the benefits for a larger territory outweighs. At least I can't see any harm in having a larger territory. Perhaps u mean its then harder to defend, or something in this direction? But that seems really neglectable.

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Old March 28th, 2015, 12:29 AM   #45
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In some cases, sure. Some low-ranking officials just starting out made very little. Your first assignment might be teaching in a rural elementary school, or just being a nameless clerk in some minor official's office. Not very glamorous work.
Yes, but a literate teacher in a rural elementary school needed to pay for his food, clothes and house, as much as an illiterate day labourer had to.
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Most officials were career officials. It generally wasnt a part time job for many people. You had to pass the civil service exams (which required years of preparation and study), or have friends in high places who could pull strings and get you work. You started at the bottom (again, unless you had connections) and had to work your way up to better positions. The official most ordinary farmers and peasants dealt with was the county magistrate who lived in the county capital. Individual villages had their own officials too, but they were usually local people chosen to do things like collect taxes, etc. rather than career officials (those were the tax-obligated positions you mentioned. Everyone in the village got their turn to fill them).
Who then were the majority? Career officials, or tax-obligated positions?

Also, if "everyone" in the village got their turn to fill tax collector posts, does it mean that the turn went both to rich peasants (who could afford to perform some unpaid work) and to poor labourers (who could NOT afford to skip paying work)?
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Well just like today, buying a house takes a lot of money. You have to make a decent living to do it. A day laborer was a pretty lowly job. I'm assuming they didnt save much and spent their money s they made it. Many were probably rural farmers who came to cities to get extra work. Most were probably just people with no other skills.
Did the rural farmers who came to cities to get extra work have the skill to work as a tax collector (and write accounts)?
When their turn came to work as a tax collector, did they have to go back to the village they had come from, or did they collect taxes in the city where they worked?
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Old September 8th, 2017, 11:03 PM   #46

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When I think of the Song I always get the feeling that it was the most civilized time in Chinese history.

The innovation that came from that period plus the beauty I see in the art as well as what was stressed as being the most important for the people helps me to have a high regard for the period.
It was also considered the time that thoughts and speeches were least suppressed.
Something similar to universal healthcare was also developed.
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Old September 9th, 2017, 11:35 AM   #47
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This is actually pretty common in Chinese history for low ranking officials to have lower or equal wages to that of day laborers, nor is this even unique to Chinese history.
I don't think so, I think these are 吏, and but even 吏 should more than that. 8th rank 县丞 gets 180 guan. And that's not counting bonus.
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Old September 9th, 2017, 09:04 PM   #48

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Please be more specific. The government officials I have in mind are pretty much glorified clerks.
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Old September 10th, 2017, 01:40 AM   #49
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Please be more specific. The government officials I have in mind are pretty much glorified clerks.
Well a postman works for the government, but he isn't an 'official.'

An official has to be ranked, at the minimum. An 8th rank assistant mayor (of sort) gets 180 guan/yr, and that's probably as low as 'official' one can get. Maybe we can go lower to the 曹s.

But going further I think an official is someone who can make decision on behalf of the government in some capacity. Not everyone working for the government is an official. So I think someone has to be at least in the leadership position, someone who has passed the CSE.
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Old September 10th, 2017, 01:53 AM   #50

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Well a postman works for the government, but he isn't an 'official.'

An official has to be ranked, at the minimum. An 8th rank assistant mayor (of sort) gets 180 guan/yr, and that's probably as low as 'official' one can get. Maybe we can go lower to the 曹s.

But going further I think an official is someone who can make decision on behalf of the government in some capacity. Not everyone working for the government is an official. So I think someone has to be at least in the leadership position, someone who has passed the CSE.
Are you distinguishing civil servants and officials?
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