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André (2003) defines a traditional economy as a situation where the distribution of the available capital is based on inheritance. It is a strong economic presumption that consists of well established communal setup and it generally operates on prehistoric practices and beliefs. Some features are characteristic of china’s traditional economy as observed in the following discussion.
First, the economy was preindustrial in the sense that it was a rural agriculture-based economy. This economy relied on human labor and animals that provided the workforce needed on the farms. Additionally, the net product output from this economy was too low to sustain the population and trigger the required quick economic development (André, 2003). In a traditional economy, the larger section of the population lived in the rural areas and worked on agricultural fields. On top of the above features, in this type of economy, peoples’ economic status was very unpredictable with the uncertainties brought about by several factors that include the demand for farm products, the local authorities’ way of life, and changes in seasons.
Better still in the prehistoric era, china’s economy underwent a massive civilization that lead to sufficiency in agricultural production to supersede the basic needs of families that practiced agriculture to also provide the city settlements with food, main civic works, active scholars, widespread administrative organizations and standing armies. China’s traditional economy has had the world’s most advanced civilization for centuries as evidenced by greater achievements in governance, literature, production technology, science, and art. Unfortunately, this success in the economy by China in traditional was time and again disturbed by wars (André, 2003).
Apart from agriculture, the Chinese traditional economy was also characterized by trade. The Chinese people ferried silk to the west and imported gold. This economy was also characterized by the use of metal made to look like cowrie shells, and then metal ornamental chains of beads referred to as cash which was used as a medium of exchange for goods and services. This was replaced by paper money in 100 AD among Sung Dynasty. Lastly, the important industry that characterized china’s traditional economy was early mining. This was done during the Han Dynasty where people started operating salt mining businesses; the salt was sold. The major source of labor in mines was majorly by the slaves.
In conclusion, china’s traditional economy was mainly agriculture-based. This was later civilized to improve agricultural production, an achievement that was contributed to by good governance and improved production technology among other factors. Trade of salt from early mining industries and wheat and rice from agriculture took place with the use of metals made to look like cowrie shells, metal ornamental chains as a medium. These were later replaced by paper money.
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