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|Record ID: 1565400411||From: 美國|
|Record ID: 1565400411R001||From: 美國|
|400年前的俄國，Ivan the Terrible 主政初期，俄國還活在medieval times，民不聊生。
|Record ID: 1565400411R002||From: 美國|
|Record ID: 1565400411R003||From: 美國|
|Record ID: 1565400411R004||From: 美國|
|Record ID: 1565400411R005||From: 美國|
|Record ID: 1565400411R006||From: 美國|
反觀英、美、俄 這四百年來曾經或現在當著世界強權。 中國有嗎？
|Record ID: 1565400411R007||From: 美國|
|Record ID: 1565400411R008||From: 美國|
|Record ID: 1565400411R009||From: 台灣|
|Record ID: 1565400411R010||From: 美國|
|Record ID: 1565400411R011||From: 美國|
The accumulation of private capital, the practice of buying cheap and selling dear, the ostentation of the nouveau riche merchant, all offended the elite, scholarly bureaucrats-almost as much as they aroused the resentment of the toiling masses. While not wishing to bring the entire market economy to a halt, the mandarins often intervened against individual merchants by confiscating their property or banning their business. Foreign trade by Chinese subjects must have seemed even more dubious to mandarin eyes, simply because it was less under their control.
Yet without official encouragement, merchants and other entrepreneurs could not thrive; and even those who did acquire wealth tended to spend it on land and education, rather than investing in protoindustrial development. Similarly, the banning of overseas trade and fishing took away another potential stimulus to sustained economic expansion;
The system as a whole, like that of Ming China, increasingly suffered from some of the defects of being centralized, despotic, and severely orthodox in its attitude toward initiative, dissent, and commerce.
The lack of territorial expansion and accompanying booty after 1550, together with the vast rise in prices, caused discontented janissaries to turn to internal plunder. Merchants and entrepreneurs (nearly all of whom were foreigners), who earlier had been encouraged, now found themselves subject to unpredictable taxes and outright seizures of property. Even higher dues ruined trade and depopulated towns. Perhaps worst affected of all were the peasants, whose lands and stock were preyed upon by the soldiers. As the situation deteriorated, civilian officials also turned to plunder, demanding bribes and confiscating stocks of goods.
Economic notions remained primitive: imports of western wares were desired, but exports were forbidden; the guilds were supported in their efforts to check innovation and the rise of "capitalist" producers; religious criticism of traders intensified. Contemptuous of European ideas and practices, the Turks declined to adopt newer methods for containing plagues;
In the towns themselves there were very considerable numbers of merchants, bustling markets, and attitude toward manufacture, trade and credit among Hindu business families which would make them excellent examples of Weber's Protestant ethic. As against this picture of an entrepreneurial society just ready for economic "takeoff" before it became a victim of British imperialism, there are the gloomier portrayals of the many indigenous retarding factors in Indian life. The sheer rigidity of Hindu religious taboos militated against modernization: rodents and insects could not be killed, so vast amount of foodstuffs were lost; social mores about handling refuse and excreta led to permanent insanitary conditions, a breeding ground for bubonic plagues; the caste system throttled initiative, instilled ritual, and restricted the market; and the influence wielded over Indian local rulers by the Brahman priests meant that this obscurantism was effective at the highest level.
The brilliant courts were centers of conspicuous consumption on a scale which the Sun King at Versailles might have thought excessive. Thousands of servants and hangers-on, extravagant clothes and jewels and harems and menageries, vast arrays of bodyguards, could be paid for only by the creation of a systematic plunder machine. Tax collectors, required to provide fixed sums for their masters, preyed mercilessly upon peasant and merchant alike; whatever the state of the harvest or trade, the money had to come in.
The more peoples that were conquered, the greater was the likelihood of internal dissension and revolt. A further weakness was that despite certain borrowings from the West, Russia remained technologically backward and economically underdeveloped. Extremes of climate and the enormous distances and poor communications partly accounted for this, but so also did severe social defects: the military absolutism of the czars, the monopoly of education in the hands of the Orthodox Church, the venality and unpredictability of the bureaucracy, and the institution of serfdom, which made agriculture feudal and static.
Enough had been borrowed from Europe to give the regime the armed strength to preserve itself, while all possibility of western social and political "modernization" was firmly resisted; foreigners in Russia, for example, were segregated from the natives in order to prevent subversive influences.
Whereas China was run by a unified bureaucracy, power in Japan lay in the hands of clan-based feudal lordships and the emperor was but a cipher. The centralized rule which had existed in the fourteenth century had been replaced by a constant feuding between the clans-akin, as it were, to the strife among their equivalent in Scotland. This was not the ideal circumstance for traders and merchants, but it did not check a very considerable amount of economic activity. At sea, as on land, entrepreneurs jostled with warlords and military adventurers, each of whom detected profit in the East Asian maritime trade.
This lively if turbulent scene was soon to be altered by the growing use of imported European armaments. As was happening elsewhere in the world, power gravitated toward those individuals or groups who possessed the resources to commandeer a larger musket-bearing army and, most important of all, cannon.
Tokugawa clan's determination to achieve unchallenged control: foreigners and Christians were thus regarded as potentially subversive. But so, too, were other feudal lords, which is why they were required to spend half the year in the capital; and why, during the six months they were allowed to reside on their estates, their families had to remain at Yedo (Tokyo), virtually hostages.
This important uniformity did not, of itself, throttle economic development-nor, for that matter, did it prevent outstanding artistic achievements. Nationwide peace was good for trade, the towns and overall population were growing, and the increasing use of cash payments made merchants and bankers more important. The latter, however, were never permitted the social and political prominence they gained in Italy, the Netherlands, and Britain, and the Japanese were obviously unable to learn about, and adopt, new technological and industrial developments that were occurring elsewhere.
For this political diversity Europe had largely to thank its geography. There were no enormous plains over which an empire of horsemen could impose its swift dominion; nor were there broad and fertile river zones like those around the Ganges, Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates, Yellow and Yangtze, providing the food for masses of toiling and easily conquerable peasants. Europe's landscape was much more fractured, with mountain ranges and large forests separating the scattered population centers in the valleys; and its climate altered considerably from north to south and west to east.
For a start, it both made difficult the establishment of unified control, even by a powerful and determined warlord, and minimized the possibility that the continent could be overrun by a external force like the Mongol hordes. Conversely, this variegated landscape encouraged the growth, and the continued existence, of decentralized power,
Europe's differentiated climate led to differentiated products, suitable for exchange; and in time, as market relations developed,
Regular long-distance exchanges of wares in turn encouraged the growth of bills of exchange, a credit system, and banking on an international scale. The very existence of mercantile credit, and then of bills of insurance, pointed to a basic predictability of economic conditions which private traders had hitherto rarely, if ever, enjoyed anywhere in the world.
The fact was that in Europe there were always some princes and local lords willing to tolerate merchants and their ways even when others plundered and expelled them; and, as the record shows, oppressed Jewish traders, ruined Flemish textile workers, persecuted Huguenots, moved on and took their expertise with them.
A monarch who repudiated his debts would have immense difficulties raising a loan when the next war threatened and funds were quickly needed to equip his armies and fleets. Bankers and arms dealers and artisans were essential, not peripheral, members of society. Gradually, unevenly, most of the regimes of Europe entered into a symbiotic relationship with the market economy, providing for its domestic order and a nonarbitrary legal system (even for foreigners), and receiving in taxes a share of the growing profits from trade. Long before Adam Smith had coined the exact words, the rulers of certain societies of western Europe were tacitly recognizing that "little else is requisite to carry a state of the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and tolerable administration of justice..."
The simple existence of competitors, and of bitter feelings between warring groups, was evident in Japan, India, and elsewhere, but that of itself had not prevented eventual unification. Europe was different in that each of the rival forces was able to gain access to the new military techniques, so that no single power ever possessed the decisive edge.
By extension, this lack of economic and political rigidity would imply a similar lack of cultural and ideological orthodoxy-that is, freedom to inquire, to dispute, to experiment, a belief in the possibilities of improvement, a concern for the practical rather than the abstract, a rationalism which defied mandarin codes, religious dogma, and traditional folklore.
What distinguished the captains, crews, and explorers of Europe was that they possessed the ships and the firepower with which to achieve their ambitions, and that they came from a political environment in which competition, risk, and entrepreneurship were prevalent.
~Paul Kennedy THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GREAT POWERS『大國興亡史』
|Record ID: 1565400411R012||From: 台灣|