Cycles Of Silver

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Cycles of Silver In the article “Cycles of Silver” by Dennis o. Flynn and Arturo Giraldez the thesis was that by the 16th century, there was global trade as reflected by the silver cycles. The essay focuses on two significant cycles of the evolution of the silver market, the Potosi/Japan Cycle and the Mexican Cycle. One of the main points of the essay was that China was the primary end-market for world silver during several centuries. In the early 16th century China's monetary and fiscal systems to a silver standard led to a doubling in the value of silver in China vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Profit opportunities encouraged a surge in silver production in Spanish America and Japan. In the 17th century Japan exported huge amounts of silver to China. Also American crops were also introduced to the Chinese, contributing to the increase of the Chinese population in the eighteenth century. Their population growth along with market growth implied another boost in demand for silver, which in turn propelled silver’s value fifty percent above Europe. Largely in response to big demand, more Mexican silver was produced in much greater quantities this time around during the eighteenth century than that had been produced by all of Spanish America during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries combined. Another main point was that by the middle of the 18th century so much silver flooded into China that super-profits had been eliminated. Meanwhile the British gained control of a new, fast growing market – opium. The British would import Bengal opium into China in exchange for Chinese exports of tea. This market was also linked to American tobacco introduction, because opium would be mixed with tobacco leaves and smoked. The opium market was also linked to the increase of slave importation, due to the fact that the English would drink tea with sugar, requiring more
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