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Summary of Chapter 11 By: Samantha Truxal

In the " Age of Exploration" many things rose like modern science, capitalism,
humanism, and the nation state. This era began around 1450 in this era they stopped using
virtual currencies and credit economies and went back to gold and silver. The flow of
gold and silver from the Americas sped up this process sparking what is called the " price
revolution" in Western Europe. In the Middle Ages some of the stuff that were kept at bay
were vast empires and perfessional armies, massive predatory warfare, untrammeled
usury and debt peonage and materialist philosophies. In this era scientific and
philosophical creativity was a loud to thrive.
In the 1400s Europe was in termoil because of the plague or "Black Death". During
this time commerical economy sagged and some religions even collapsed. Because of this
cities went bankrupt and it caused extreme violence and warfare. But there were some
good thing that came from the plaque when it came to the farmers or urban workers
wages increased because so many people died from the plague that these workers were in
high demand. It didn't happen very quickly because legislations froze wages and tried to
tie free peasents back to the land. That let to many parts of Europe uprising against the
authority. Authorities were forced to compromise and it allowed more wealth to flow to
regular people. During this time authorities started producing new law not allowing
people to wear silks and to limit the number of feast to conserve food.
Over the next few centuries in England festivals were attacked by Catholic and
Proestant reformers. Along with this the ecomomic basis of popular prosperity dissovled.
They believed this happened because of massive inflation. Between the 1500s and 1650

prices in Europe rose 500% and wages rose much more slowly so in five generations
wages fell to 40% of what they were in the past. In 1450 there was a shortage of the flow
of gold and silver and therefore coins were in shortage as well. Because of this the
trading of goods dropped dramitically. In the 1460s there was even a time were ships full
of goods were turned away because the citizens didn't have the currency to trade with the
captians. The only thing that turned it around near the end of the decade was the opening
of new trade routes and the sudden burst of silver mining in Saxony and the Tirol.
Between 1520 and 1640 a lot of gold and silver came from Mexico and Peru through the
Alantic and Pacific Oceans on Spanish treasure ships.
Mongols conqured China in 1271 they kept the system of paper money and even
tried to introduce it to other parts of the empire with but with no success. But, in 1368
they were overthrown by one of China's other popular insurrections. During the Mongols
rule they introduced their tax system which was paid in labor. This created a caste system
farmers at the bottom, then craftsmen, and then soldiers and they were forbidden to
change their jobs. They invested in farming, roads, and canals which created a
commerical boom. But they also put taxes so high on farmers many fled their lands.
In Europe there were many odd jobs like peddling, entertainment, piracy, or banditry.
But in China many turned prospector most in minor silver minning. Oncoined silver and
bronzed coins soon became real money instead of offical paper money of off the books
informal economy. In the 1430s and 1440s the goverment tried to shut down the illegal
mine in retaliation the miners displaced peasents, sezied cites, and threaten entire
provinces.

Because of this the goverment stopped issuing paper money, legailized the mines,
allowed the flow of silver to be recognized in large transactions, and even gave private
mints the authority to produce strings of cash. It allowed the goverment to have the
citizens to pay their taxes in silver.
In turn the Chinese government had gone back to its old policy of encouraging
markets and merely intervening to prevent and undue concentrations of capital. It proved
to be successful, and Chinese markets boomed. During that time Chinese population was
exploding and it caused the living standards to improve. The problem with this is that it
required the government to ensure the abundant of sliver in the country so as to keep its
price low and minimize popular unrest but as it turned out, the Chinese mines were very
quickly exhausted. In 1530s they discovered mines in Japan but as the mines in China
these mines were exhusted in a decade or two. Before long, China had to turn to Europe
and the New World.
In Europe they had been exporting gold and silver to the East. The problem here is
that Europe had never produced anything that Asians wanted so the Europeans has to pay
in specie for silks, spices, steel, and other imports. The early years of European expansion
were attempts to gain access to Eastern luxuries or new sources of gold and silver to pay
for them. Pretty much the same time Christopher Columbus was trying to find a new
route to China and touched ground in the New World. The conquest of Mexico and Peru
led to enormous new sources of precious metals.
By 1540 the mass flow of silver and gold caused the collapse of prices acrossed
Europe. The America mines and the colonization of the New world would have stopped if

not for the demand from China. Treasure ships soon stopped going to Europe and starting
unloading their cargo in Canton.
By the late 16th century China was importing almost fifty tons of silver a year. About
90% of its silver. And by the early 17th century it was up to 116 tons or over 97%. Silk,
porcelain, and other Chinese products had to be exported to pay for it. The Asian trade
was the most important factor in the global economy, and the people who controlled it
like the Dutch and German bankers and merchant became very rich. They reason why it
collape in Europe was because the minted coins didn't make it into regular peoples hands
so it didn't circulate at markets.
Despite the huge flow of silver and gold from the Americas most families were so
low on cash they were forced to melt down their silver to pay for their taxes. During this
time taxes had to be paid in metal. Also during this time business thrived as much as they
did during the Middle Ages. By the means of virtual credit money, tallies, promissory
notes, within smaller communities, simply by keeping track of the money people owed.
What realy caused the inflation was who controlled the flow of silver and gold i.e.
bankers goverments and so on. With this controll they began changing the rules which
allow the destruction of local systems of trust that had allowed small scale communities
across Europe to operate largely without the use of metal currency.
The new flow of gold and silver used for money could only be imposed through
violence. The first recation of the "price revolution" was much the same as in China
people began flee there homes. Some even were forced out of their villages and became
"masterless men". In Europe though the government crushed the rebellion. These

"masterless men" were rounded up, exported to colonies as laborers, and drafted into
armies and navies, and set to work at factories at home.
Almost all of this was carried out through a manipulation of debt. As a result, the very
nature of debt, too, became once again one of the principal bones of connection.