The Prosperity of Song Dynasty

發布時間:2020-06-03 13:43


<标题> Chinese history in Song Dynasty has reached its pinnacle, which amazed most historians around the world. Its glory and achievement of a highly advanced society has undoubtedly wins its unrivalled reputation among the scholar field.

<标题> One important measurement of prosperity is the size of population. According to the author, "Song population reached about 100 million in 1102, ... exceed(ing) that of all of Europe" (P131). This population explosion was facilitated by the expansion cultivation of rice, which "did not become a central element in the Chinese diet until the Song era" (PPT). More deeply, this significant productivity progress was propelled by the technology advancement involving fighting against the wild environment in Southern China, improvement of means of cultivation, inventions of irrigation tools or systems, to name but a few.

<标题> Another eye-catching development in Song Dynasty should be the prodigious amount of wealth generated and accumulated by the society and the Song government, since "even counting the expenses of the exchange of embassies, the cost of maintaining peaceful relations with the Liao consumed no more than 2 or 3 percent of the state's annual revenues (P129)". Based on the great advancement of techniques and production such as papermaking, printing, commercial crops, and iron production, Song Dynasty's economic had enjoyed a continuous thrive, which brought up many innovations to the commercial activities out of merchants' need. Paper money, receipt, and banking system can find their origins here with partnerships and joint stock companies specifically separating between investors and managers appeared during this period. To respond to the dynamic economic activities, the government had even approved of 24 hours, open markets. Thus, the supportive state was rewarded by abundant tax revenues and strong economic power.

<标题> Despite the militant inability, Song Dynasty has always been strong in terms of soft power of culture, education, and political institutions. Even its surrounding enemies, Liao and Xia, have to govern its own people in the Han's style, drawing experiences from Song dynasty. Moreover, civil examination had became more open and justice compared with that of Tang Dynasty, providing not only more social mobility for common people to enter into the bureaucratic hierarchy but also more promising officials for the state to manage the governmental affairs. Although the pros and cons side of Song's civil examination system has been sided by various historians in different periods of time, the enlarge of the whole scholar-official class, from "fewer than 30, 000 early in the eleventh century to nearly 80,000 by the end of the century and to amazingly 400.000 by the dynasty's end" (P134), has provide a large pool of intellectuals, who were actively engaged in the fields of poetry, painting, calligraphy, and even science, thus providing the momentum for cultural flourishing and technological advancement.