Download A Great Undertaking: Mechanization and Social Change in a by Jeff Hornibrook PDF

By Jeff Hornibrook

Jeff Hornibrook presents a special, microcosmic examine the method of industrialization in a single chinese language group on the flip of the 20 th century. Industrialization got here past due to China, yet was once finally embraced and hastened to help the state's strategic and armed forces pursuits. In Pingxiang County within the highlands of Jiangxi Province, coalmining was once seasonal paintings; peasants rented mines from lineage leaders to paintings after the harvest. those traditions replaced in 1896 while the court docket made up our minds that the county's mines have been crucial for industrialization. international engineers and chinese language officers arrived to set up the hot social and financial order required for mechanized mining, person who may switch issues for individuals from all degrees of society. The outsiders built a Westernized manufacturing unit city that sat uneasily in the current neighborhood. Mistreatment of the neighborhood inhabitants, together with the compelled buy of gentry-held houses and the combination of peasants into factory-style hard work schemes, sparked a sequence of rebellions that wounded the empire and tore on the cloth of the group. utilizing tales present in memoirs of elite chinese language and overseas engineers, correspondence among gentry and strong officers, travelogues of yank missionaries and engineers, in addition to different resources, Hornibrook deals a desirable heritage of the social and political results of industrialization in Pingxiang County.

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Sample text

For most Chinese, the markets did not fail to perform as they were needed because they were primarily used for the daily needs and subsistence strategies of the population, a service they performed adequately for centuries. In fact, Chinese commoners were more likely to fear merchants and local elites turning away from their daily needs and moving into new avenues of investments in order to make larger profits for themselves. This fear was bound into the subsistence and labor portfolio strategies that were the focus of their family’s well-beings.

In the coalfields, too, miners paid rents for the rights to extract coal, but miners and elites alike still used it primarily for local markets and personal subsistence. When the peasantry employed various acts of resistance to fight off elite exploitation, landlords pushed back through expanded tenancy relations and relied upon state militia to crush acts of rebellion. This, in turn, sparked further resistance from the laboring classes who joined secret societies and rebel bands that spread violence and graft throughout the countryside.

62 While mining in the late Ming and early to mid-Qing eras was primarily meant for subsistence, there is some evidence to suggest that as the population of the county increased by the mid to late nineteenth century this sparked more trade in the mineral. 64 The concomitant increase in total demand sparked expansion of mining among the seasonal workers. In some mines, the shafts became increasingly deep and the labor extreme. One observer of Chinese mines wrote that he had descended Scratching the Dirt, Digging the Rocks 29 into shafts that were 600 to 800 feet deep.

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