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Possible explanation for white male hegemony

Moderator: hansioux

Re: Possible explanation for white male hegemony

Postby finley » 11 Dec 2015, 20:50

headhonchoII wrote:Interestingly Chinese societies often used people as a means of transport for individuals and goods. Seems like they have always had a surplus of peasants they could use.

This. Note that industrial development in both the US and the UK was coincident with a backlash against slavery (and social exploitation in general). A lot of cultures never saw anything wrong with grinding the face of the peasant under the jackboot of feudalism.
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Re: Possible explanation for white male hegemony

Postby Zhengzhou2010 » 12 Dec 2015, 14:10

Tempo Gain wrote:I've read the Qing really turned China back. The Ming were building ports and fleets, but these seemed threatening to the Qing and they scotched it all and turned inwards.


I've heard similar comments before and I agree to some extent especially with regards to the over insularity of the late Qing. But simultaneously, I recognize that the earlier Qing did do a lot to "strengthen" China relative to internal/inland regions and influence (Central Asia). I wonder if the same could be said of the Yuan and if it perhaps reflects the priorities of inland/steppe cultures and societies like the Mongols and Manchus.
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Re: Possible explanation for white male hegemony

Postby Tempo Gain » 13 Dec 2015, 00:16

Zhengzhou2010 wrote: But simultaneously, I recognize that the earlier Qing did do a lot to "strengthen" China relative to internal/inland regions and influence (Central Asia). I wonder if the same could be said of the Yuan and if it perhaps reflects the priorities of inland/steppe cultures and societies like the Mongols and Manchus.


All this stands to reason, and more so when you consider that the Ming lost to the Qing. The only external inland threats Europe had to beat off in relatively recent times were the Mongols, who just petered out really, and the Turks, who were never a really existential threat. While the Qing were strengthening China against any other internal threat besides themselves, Europe was honing its seacraft against each other and ultimately dominating the globe. Even though the Ming were nominally a massive unified power, they couldn't do both. The Qing could well be in power today if the Europeans and insulated Japanese hadn't eventually come calling.
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Re: Possible explanation for white male hegemony

Postby hansioux » 14 Dec 2015, 11:39

I've read the Qing really turned China back. The Ming were building ports and fleets, but these seemed threatening to the Qing and they scotched it all and turned inwards.


China had plenty of competition, but most of them were nomads who didn't even invest that much into agriculture, let alone industries. The exception might have been the Song dynasty, where it's main rivals, the Khitans, Jurchens, and Tanguts all eventually adopted the permanent settlement life style and had similar technological abilities. That was perhaps why science flourished during the Song dynasty, especially firearms.

Since then most Chinese empires dominated the region pretty much unopposed...

Although, if conflict, competition and cooperation are the keys to innovation and inventions, places like India should see more technological innovations. India had been fractured into many little kingdoms throughout most of its history much like Europe. Maybe it was the Muslims, Mughals and the Europeans that pulled them back. Before that Indian sailors were spreading Indian culture to South East Asia. After the Muslim conquest, the same routes were taken over by Muslim sailors.

By the way, the Ming dynasty was at time against maritime activities as well. In fact, since the first Ming emperor, Emperor Hongwu, a.k.a. Zhu Yuan-zhang, Ming banned ocean travel by Chinese private citizens for 200 years. That's 75% of the Ming's entire history. People like Zheng He operated on official capacities and sailed the seas were rare. Ming dynasty forbade most civilian coastal activities because they fear people would collude with foreign privateers (Japanese and European pirates).

In both alleged plans to overthrow Emperor Hongwu, prosecutors implicated the suspects with "plotting with Japanese pirates." These two cases resulted in mass execution of the suspects' associates and families. A total of 45,000 people were executed with the "Japanese pirates" excuse. Whether those are trumped up charges or not, it signifies that the Japanese pirates was a serious issue to Emperor Hongwu.

In the Ming Code of Law, Emperor Hongwu banned building ships with 3 masts or above. People not on official capacities are forbidden to carry trade goods or weapons to foreign counties, or to pirates. Punishment for disobeying this law was death. The perpetrator’s head would be hang for the public to see, families would serve as slaves or border patrols in remote places for life. Same goes with those who sell ships to foreigners.

Emperor Hongwu also closed down Maritime trade offices (市舶司) in Quanzhou (Fujian), Mingzhou (Ningpo today), and Guangzhou (Guangdong). Those offices had been in place since the Tang dynasty.

All these measures effectively put Chinese maritime development to a halt. The Qing merely readopted these policies.
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Re: Possible explanation for white male hegemony

Postby Tempo Gain » 14 Dec 2015, 13:41

Interesting, thanks. Reading a bit more I see it was subsequent Ming emperors who stopped the sea voyages. I once read that the Hongwu emperor was the one who started the "ghost month" traditions, as a way of monopolizing auspicious days for imperial worship.
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Re: Possible explanation for white male hegemony

Postby Zhengzhou2010 » 16 Dec 2015, 23:41

Tempo Gain wrote:Interesting, thanks. Reading a bit more I see it was subsequent Ming emperors who stopped the sea voyages. I once read that the Hongwu emperor was the one who started the "ghost month" traditions, as a way of monopolizing auspicious days for imperial worship.


My thanks to Hansioux as well for the interesting history!
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