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Old October 6th, 2015, 03:52 PM   #61

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Originally Posted by zincwarrior View Post
Which countries had the biggest empires at the time? Its amazing how much of the globe speaks Spanish, English, and Portuguese.
They were much smaller in terms of population however. Spanish empire was 25-30 million people (8-10 million in Spain plus 15-20 million in the colonies).

The most powerful country in the world from 1600 to 1820, however, was France. French tax revenues in silver were equal to China in the 17th century and larger than China's in the 18th century. However, differently from China, which had to spend most of it's tax revenues maintaining it's territory, France could project power. Same applies to Spain or even tiny countries like the Netherlands.

Netherlands had tax revenues of 300 tons of silver, 1/3 of China's in the 17th century. However, Netherlands' population was 1.4% of China's. Meaning that Dutch republic could spend their money in imperial colonial projects and hence project power all over the globe: Dutch military power was projected near Chinese borders while Chinese military power was never remotely touching Dutch borders.

Asian armies were huge because they needed to rule huge domestic populations. But they lacked power projection. Japan managed to maintain an absurdly large army for some time and tried to conquer the rest of East Asia, but failed. What is impressive is that they tried even though Japan's population was like 1/10 of China's.

The world developed a global system of international relations after 1500, before 1500 it was impossible to say whether countries in different political world systems were more powerful because they were outside of other world systems. Only by perhaps the 17th century the world became integrated enough that one could say that one country was the most powerful and from 1600 to 1820 it was France, from 1820 to 1939 it was UK, from 1945 to today it's the US. These countries were the political, military, technological, scientific and economic main powers of the world in each respective period. For instance, the largest number of great intellectuals of the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries are French (Euler, Pascal, etc).

Though arguably the UK never reached superpower status like France of the US did. Since the UK never had like more than like 25% of the world's leading scholars at any period of time. Germany and France were still influential and powerful relative to the UK in the 19th century.
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Old October 6th, 2015, 04:34 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
They were much smaller in terms of population however. Spanish empire was 25-30 million people (8-10 million in Spain plus 15-20 million in the colonies).

The most powerful country in the world from 1600 to 1820, however, was France. French tax revenues in silver were equal to China in the 17th century and larger than China's in the 18th century. However, differently from China, which had to spend most of it's tax revenues maintaining it's territory, France could project power. Same applies to Spain or even tiny countries like the Netherlands.

Netherlands had tax revenues of 300 tons of silver, 1/3 of China's in the 17th century. However, Netherlands' population was 1.4% of China's. Meaning that Dutch republic could spend their money in imperial colonial projects and hence project power all over the globe: Dutch military power was projected near Chinese borders while Chinese military power was never remotely touching Dutch borders.
I think the reason why China did not project his power elsewhere around the globe has more to do with cultural factors and mindset rather than military or financial factors. The Ming could project their power if they really wanted to, but the Ming emperor chose not to do so because he doesn't want to see his former subjects build another Ming empire outside of his control.

Zheng He's voyages have already proved that Ming could project their power to foreign lands.

I would argue that this type of authoritarian mindset (that the emperor is the son of heaven and everything he says is true) is what ultimately prevented the Chinese from competing with Europeans during the Age of Discovery. Had there been no emperor in China and had China been separated into many smaller kingdoms just like he once was during the Warring States period, things could turn out to be much different.

Last edited by purakjelia; October 6th, 2015 at 04:43 PM.
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Old October 6th, 2015, 06:23 PM   #63
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Japanese levels of military mobilization appear to be much larger than almost any other pre-industrial empires.
These were probably militia units; the Qin of the warring states had a million soldiers for mobilization out of a population of only around 7-8 million because of universal conscription.


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Usually these army sizes are around .5% of the population:

Mughal India: 580,000 out of pop. around 100 million
China (1600): 650,000 out of a pop. around 150 million
Roman Empire (1st century): 400,000 out of a pop. around 70 million

Japan had like 15 million people in 1600 but armies of several hundred thousand, at like 3-4% of the total population. But they were in constant civil war and maybe their per capita income was higher than other Asian empires so they could support larger militaries per capita.

Roman military expenditures were around 500-600 tons of silver though silver was perhaps worth less than in Ming China. Roman prices were around 1 gram of silver = 2.5 kg of wheat. Chinese and Indian prices in the 18th century were around that level (after influx of thousands of tons from the New World).
No, silver worth way more in Ming China. The 18th century saw a convergence of world silver value because of new world silver import but 16th and 17th century Silver in China worth much more. Scheidel estimates the Roman revenue at it's height at around 4 billion liters of grain, Liu Guanlin estimates late Ming revenue at 4.2 billion liters of grain and the early Ming had 4.7 billion liters of grain (population also only at 70 million).
The Mughals under Akbar probably had a comparable sized revenue to the late Ming (maybe a little smaller), but probably about twice as high in grain value as the Ming under Aurangzeb with 3,700 tons of silver. Also, the Western Han's revenue was around 5-6 billion liters of grain with a population of around 65 million and the Tang revenue was over 7-8 billion liters of grain with a population of around 80 million. The Song likewise had around 7 billion liters of grain with a population of about 100 million (the Tang and Song revenue was probably comparable to the Mughal revenue under Aurangzeb).

Last edited by heavenlykaghan; October 6th, 2015 at 07:15 PM.
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Old October 6th, 2015, 06:38 PM   #64
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The most powerful country in the world from 1600 to 1820, however, was France. French tax revenues in silver were equal to China in the 17th century and larger than China's in the 18th century.

No they are not equal. Silver in 17th century China was around 2.3 times more valuable than silver in Europe, the Qing had three times as large of a revenue as France and still 50% greater than France in the 18th century.
Also, the Qing had an additional source of non-revenue based logistic funding; private merchants accompanying the army as well as grazing. That's why despite numerous wars fought across East and Central Asia, the Qing treasury was always replenished and full, whereas most European states of the time were in debt.

The Mughal revenue on the other hand was over 5 times that of France.


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However, differently from China, which had to spend most of it's tax revenues maintaining it's territory, France could project power. Same applies to Spain or even tiny countries like the Netherlands.
France projected power to just 220,000 sq miles of continental landmass, and around 600,000 sq miles of land overseas. Qing projected its power over 5 million sq miles, there is a huge disparity of 6 times when we are talking about continental projection because the Qing had superior horse resources and a commercialized continental sized economy.

Quote:
Netherlands had tax revenues of 300 tons of silver, 1/3 of China's in the 17th century. However, Netherlands' population was 1.4% of China's. Meaning that Dutch republic could spend their money in imperial colonial projects and hence project power all over the globe: Dutch military power was projected near Chinese borders while Chinese military power was never remotely touching Dutch borders.

Silver in China worth more than twice as much as Europe in the 17th century. The Dutch military presence in Taiwan was easily ousted by a renegade pirate which the navy of Fujian overthrew. The Dutch force might reach Chinese coasts, but reaching is hardly significant as a forced Chinese enterprise might do the same had the Celestial Empire really tried, but the Dutch cannot penetrate even beyond the coastal defense.

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Asian armies were huge because they needed to rule huge domestic populations. But they lacked power projection. Japan managed to maintain an absurdly large army for some time and tried to conquer the rest of East Asia, but failed. What is impressive is that they tried even though Japan's population was like 1/10 of China's.
You are confusing naval projection with military projection.
The fact is, 18th century Qing was far better at projecting power, and to quote Peter Perdue again for the fifth time: "Qing commanders made careful efforts to spare the local population the burdens of military supply, either by having soldiers carry their rations with them, or by giving them money to buy grain at market prices. The real victory of early Qing rulers was their ability to draw off the resources of a rapidly commercializing economy to serve national defense needs without inflicting excessive damage on the rural economy...Rations for Qing troops, by these measures seem small;...Mongolian and Manchu soldiers in the Chinese army could get a substantial caloric supply from steppe products like mare's milk, horse's blood, horsemeat, and marmots. Most important the enoumous grasslands of Mongolia were more than adequate to feed the Qing army's horses. ...In Western Europe seven acres of green fodder could feed one horse for a year, much like North China. In any case, the 1.5 million sq km of mongolian grasslands, which supported 1.15 million horses in 1918, could potentially provide grazing lands for a very large number of horses. Western Europe clearly had no such large pasture lands, and this was the major limitation on its armies's mobility. The Qing in these campaigns achieved an impressive and believable logistical triumph by combining careful exploitation of grassland resources with convoys shipped from the interior.”

Last edited by heavenlykaghan; October 6th, 2015 at 07:04 PM.
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Old October 6th, 2015, 09:37 PM   #65
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It is extremely hard to derive the value of grain in India because intra-continental grain price is not very integrated.

A comparison between intracontinental grain integration (which factors into logistic capabilites) in India, Europe and China.

According to Roman Studer, compared to Europe:

"The difference to India is striking: There, correlation coefficients of 0.5 or higher
were restricted to local markets closer than 35km during the
first examination period (1760-1830). Meanwhile, in Europe many markets even up to distance of 1000km were now (1790-1820) reasonably connected, as can be deducted from the large standard deviation (0.38) for the distance range of 600-1000 km."

Shiue and Keller on the other hand, demonstrated a comparable market integration in China compared to Europe in the late 18th century, with markets relatively integrated up to 700 km in the former.

In addition to that however, Peter Perdue demonstrated that the large bureaucracy and grain storage policies in China forced artificial market integration of some urban places as far as Gansu and even Xinjiang, allowing the soldiers to travel across these places and buy local products at market prices.
Quote:
Also, the Qing had an additional source of non-revenue based logistic funding; private merchants accompanying the army as well as grazing. That's why despite numerous wars fought across East and Central Asia, the Qing treasury was always replenished and full, whereas most European states of the time were in debt.
To expand on this. The Qing revenue is misleading when we factor in military campaigns, because a large part of the Qing campaign was in fact subsidized by private merchants rather than the government.
According to Peter Perdue
"The Qing state, in principle, derived most of its revenues from the land tax, levying very small taxes on internal trade. In practice, however, ties between the state and merchants were much closer than the formal fiscal structure suggests. For example, even though licensing fees for brokers in local markets formed a very small fraction of total revenue, the Qing rulers used these fees effectively to supervise local markets. The use of merchant contributions for granary reserves shows that Qing officials not only accepted the presence of competitive markets but also recirculated commercial revenues back into agricultural subsidies. Price-leveling sales, loans to farmers, and relief distribution both stimulated agricultural production and facilitated the operations of the private grain market."

The Qing also gave out lower level examination degrees to local merchants for their grain contribution in the northwest (not part of the revenue).
From 1741 to 1745 Gansu reported collection of over 1 million shi of grain from contributions from local merchants (over 40 tons of silver). Considering Gansu's population was only around 7 million in the mid 18th century, this was a significant amount.

Last edited by heavenlykaghan; October 6th, 2015 at 10:01 PM.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 04:29 AM   #66

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Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
They were much smaller in terms of population however. Spanish empire was 25-30 million people (8-10 million in Spain plus 15-20 million in the colonies).

The most powerful country in the world from 1600 to 1820, however, was France. French tax revenues in silver were equal to China in the 17th century and larger than China's in the 18th century. However, differently from China, which had to spend most of it's tax revenues maintaining it's territory, France could project power. Same applies to Spain or even tiny countries like the Netherlands.

Netherlands had tax revenues of 300 tons of silver, 1/3 of China's in the 17th century. However, Netherlands' population was 1.4% of China's. Meaning that Dutch republic could spend their money in imperial colonial projects and hence project power all over the globe: Dutch military power was projected near Chinese borders while Chinese military power was never remotely touching Dutch borders.

Asian armies were huge because they needed to rule huge domestic populations. But they lacked power projection. Japan managed to maintain an absurdly large army for some time and tried to conquer the rest of East Asia, but failed. What is impressive is that they tried even though Japan's population was like 1/10 of China's.

The world developed a global system of international relations after 1500, before 1500 it was impossible to say whether countries in different political world systems were more powerful because they were outside of other world systems. Only by perhaps the 17th century the world became integrated enough that one could say that one country was the most powerful and from 1600 to 1820 it was France, from 1820 to 1939 it was UK, from 1945 to today it's the US. These countries were the political, military, technological, scientific and economic main powers of the world in each respective period. For instance, the largest number of great intellectuals of the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries are French (Euler, Pascal, etc).

Though arguably the UK never reached superpower status like France of the US did. Since the UK never had like more than like 25% of the world's leading scholars at any period of time. Germany and France were still influential and powerful relative to the UK in the 19th century.
A very enlightening post and viewpoint.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 02:09 PM   #67
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It is perhaps enlightening in showing how one ought not to selectively read sources, besides the fact that the data he provided were misleading. We've already been through the value of silver in this thread here: The Long Run Economic Performance of China from 1000 BC to 1800AD
Guaporense culled his figures for revenue from Loren Brandt, Debin Ma, Thomas G. Rawski's unpublished presentation:
http://ahes.ier.hit-u.ac.jp/ahec_bei...may21_no26.pdf.
These scholars did not convert silver value to grain value and hence does not actually address what the actual revenue in grain value was between the different 18th century polities.
Yet even his own sources, which Guaporense apparently didn't understand completely, mentioned exactly how much grain the late Ming revenue was worth.

Also, the comparative chart that presentation made was generic; covering the entire half a century of the late 18th century instead of breaking it down year by year (there was a decline in revenue in the last decades of the 18th century) and probably didn't include surcharges in the Qing revenue, since in the same exact source, Debin Ma actually estimated 73,792,000 taels of silver equivalent for the revenue in 1753, which was actually around 2,738 tons of silver (compared to around 1,612 tons for late 18th century France)


When we convert silver to grain, which was the basis of military revenue, the Qing probably had more than twice as much revenue as France even towards the end of the 18th century.
For example, Robert Allen noted that around 1820, "in terms of the price of silver in each country, one pence was worth 20.29 copper cash. This ratio, however, is a misleading indicator of the value of money since 20.29 copper cash purchased much more in China than did one pence in England: for instance, one pence bought 259 grams of wheat in England, while 20.29 cash got 539 grams in the Yangtze (Table 4)."

Last edited by heavenlykaghan; October 7th, 2015 at 03:59 PM.
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Old October 9th, 2015, 05:37 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by purakjelia View Post
I think the reason why China did not project his power elsewhere around the globe has more to do with cultural factors and mindset rather than military or financial factors. The Ming could project their power if they really wanted to, but the Ming emperor chose not to do so because he doesn't want to see his former subjects build another Ming empire outside of his control.

Zheng He's voyages have already proved that Ming could project their power to foreign lands.

I would argue that this type of authoritarian mindset (that the emperor is the son of heaven and everything he says is true) is what ultimately prevented the Chinese from competing with Europeans during the Age of Discovery. Had there been no emperor in China and had China been separated into many smaller kingdoms just like he once was during the Warring States period, things could turn out to be much different.
Actually, China is the historical example of a state that had permanently projected its power across a vast territory. This practice did indeed start with the Qin, and the Qin emperor and his state was the first in a long line of imperial expansionists. Later states, both Chinese and "barbarian," were no different. For example, the Yuan could be seen as a power projection by the Mongols into China. The Ming did not project its power across a much larger territory simply because it wasn't equipped to do so - the Chinese had no experience building maritime empires and expanding beyond the Ming's existing borders in the north and northwest required conquering steppe nomads, which the Ming tried but was not able to do. Instead, the Ming conquered Yunnan and Liaodong, and held those territories for its duration.
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Old October 9th, 2015, 09:51 PM   #69
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^That isn't really a power projection. Power projections is refering the projection of power outside the borders of a nation.
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Old October 10th, 2015, 01:49 AM   #70
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^That isn't really a power projection. Power projections is refering the projection of power outside the borders of a nation.
At the time, Yunnan was not within the borders of the Ming. So based on your definition, that is power projection.
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