The Intra-Asian Bullion Trade Economy Networks

Geoffrey C. Gunn

in History Without Borders

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9789888083343
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882208988 | DOI:
The Intra-Asian Bullion Trade Economy Networks

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This chapter describes the pivotal role of the Asian bullion trade in early modern East-Southeast Asian economies. It seeks to investigate why gold failed to become an enduring East Asian standard. The chapter discusses the broader regional implications of China's bi-metallic policy, especially in relation to new regional demand for both silver and copper. It also explores how and why silver emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as the new standard currency in Asia, matching its importance in Europe and the Americas. Furthermore, the chapter discusses the impacts of the drain in coinage on the early-eighteenth-century Japanese economy and the remedial measures that were taken to stem the outflow. Finally, it discusses how the imported metal flows lubricated domestic Southeast Asian exchange and commerce. The chapter also deals with enduring impacts of the regional and global trade in bullion, copper included.

Keywords: Asian bullion trade; East-Southeast Asia; bi-metallic policy; commerce; global trade

Chapter.  9014 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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