The start of Chinese capitalism and its early demise.

Essay by kokojieUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2003

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Many people would agree that the Song dynasty was probably the weakest dynasty in Chinese history. The Song dynasty was the first to let the entire Chinese territory to be taken over by barbarian tribes, in this case, Mongols. "The weak Song" was the term that most people use to refer to this period of time in Chinese history. (Roberts, 241) For the majority of time, Song dynasty only had control over half of China. This was very rare for Chinese dynasties; this is only comparable to the East Jin dynasty which did not last too long. But if we change our point of view to the common people. During the Song dynasty, there was never a nationally wide spread peasant rebellion of any kind. The few peasant rebellions that did happen never exceeded the border of their province and are mostly led by well known criminals.

This has never happened in any other dynasty. One reason for this was because during the Song, business tax collected exceeded farm tax by over 200%. The government was making tax money off of commerce much more than farming. This trend did not happen again until the late Qing dynasty which was forced to realize the importance of commerce and industries. China was definitely on its way toward capitalism if the trend was not disrupted by the Mongolian invaders.

Usually Chinese dynasties either gain total control of China or fall completely. But the southern Song held half of China for over two centuries without collapsing. The southern Song accomplished this by giving extremely generous tributes to the northern barbarians. Since the barbarians were satisfied, there was no reason to invade the southern Song. The Song military was a total failure; two of Song's emperors were actually taken prisoner by the...