"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
4 China’s Lessons and Its Ways of Operating6 China’s Lessons and Its Ways of OperatingChina’s Lessons and Its Ways of OperatingChapter 6: The Big Cycle of China and Its Currency2020-10-09Journal
As far as Chinese money, credit, and the economy are concerned, the history is very long and complicated and went through the full range of money/credit/economic systems and cycles that were described in Chapter 2 and its appendix, so what happened in China is basically the same as what happened all around the world through the millennia, though exactly when and exactly how is a bit different. More specifically, inside China like outside China there were the various types of monetary systems used and currencies issued by all sorts of entities with all the systems operating in the ways I described. Within China, the currency most used through the millennia was metal (mostly copper), and debt cycles like those described in Chapter 2 took place for the same reasons (i.e., debts created buying power so providing them made people feel richer and raised the economy and wealth and were allowed to grow to become much greater than the amount of money needed to service them and the amount of money grew much faster than the amount of goods and services that it could buy). In these big debt cycles there were stable periods when debt growth wasn’t excessive, bubble periods when debt growth was excessive relative to levels that could be sustained, debt crisis periods when there wasn’t enough money to service debt, and printing of money periods in which money was printed to alleviate the debt crises, which produced hyperinflations. Internationally (and sometimes domestically) silver was the main metal currency used, though gold was also sometimes used. As for the economy’s changes, the system went from being primarily agricultural and feudal through many manufacturing incarnations such as the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, including various approaches to trading with foreigners/barbarians (most importantly through the Silk Road), which built a rich merchant class that produced cycles of big wealth gaps and the wealthy having their wealth taken away from them. Throughout China’s history private entrepreneurial businesses were sometimes allowed, which typically also produced wealth and wealth disparities that led to redistributions of wealth and the businesses and other assets being taking over by the government. These also occurred in big cycles. For example, there were an untold number of changes in approaches created and destroyed for the building and the dividing of wealth. Consistent with China being an intelligent and industrious society, there were many technological inventions created that moved the economy forward. They occurred in the archetypical ways that were described in the earlier chapters. While most things were the same, there were some different monetary and economic tendencies in China. For example, there was a strong tradition of using copper coins, even after China invented paper money in the 9th century and up until the introduction of the yuan in the late 19th century.