By Niv Horesh
Expertly navigating fundamental assets in a number of languages and throughout 3 millennia, Niv Horesh explores the trajectory of chinese language forex from the beginning of coinage to the present international monetary trouble. His narrative highlights the way in which that chinese language cash constructed relating to the currencies of alternative nations, paying precise cognizance to the origins of paper funds; the connection among the West's ascendancy and its mineral riches; the linkages among pre-modern finance and political financial system; and searching forward to the potential globalization of the RMB, the foreign money of the People's Republic of China. This research casts new mild at the legacy of China's economic system either retrospectively and at present—when China's worldwide effect looms large.
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Additional resources for Chinese Money in Global Context: Historic Junctures Between 600 BCE and 2012
39 ing the probable external origin of Chinese round coinage becomes less problematic. The case for exogenous impact gains further credence when we consider the fact that the very people who helped seal India’s adoption of round coinage, the Kushans and their Scythian-Tocharian vassals, had been earlier in the third century BCE the immediate western neighbors of the nascent Qin Empire and other states where round coinage first emerged. Thus, much of the circumstantial and historical evidence seems to support the hypothesis that the introduction of round coinage to China was part of the monetary revolution that swept across the whole of Eurasia.
Similarly, if Aristophanes’ (427–386 BCE) The Frogs contains the most ancient of recorded Western diatribes against the scourges of debasement, then nobleman Shan Qi’s exhortations in China—although different in approach and tenor perhaps—are equally revealing. 22 Contained as a passage in the ancient classic Discourse of the States (Guoyu), Shan Qi warned King Jing of the Zhou Dynasty (r. 544–520 BCE) not to abolish all existing variants of knifeshaped bronze coinage in favor of new bigger and heavier bronze coinage that was probably intended to pass at a much higher nominal value than its weight would warrant.
Surprisingly, such comparative considerations of the origins of metallic money are quite hard to come by in the pertinent literature. Culturally, too, premodern Chinese currencies are still resonant with many: Imitations of late imperial sycee (hoof-shaped silver ingots) can often be seen in public venues and households as amulets and mascots propitiating good fortune. And premodern round bronze coins, typically with square holes—popularized in China as far back as the third century BCE—can be witnessed not just as household amulets and in many souvenir shops; the shape of these coins informs in fact the logos of three of China’s largest state-run commercial banks.