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A History of China by Wolfram Eberhard

000 bales of silk were paid annually to the Kitan


Sung policy was entirely in the interest of the gentry and of the trading community which was now closely connected with them. Undoubtedly it strengthened China. The policy of nonintervention in the north was endurable even when peace with the Kitan had to be bought by the payment of an annual tribute. From 1004 onwards, 100,000 ounces of silver and 200,000 bales of silk were paid annually to the Kitan, amounting in value to about 270,000 strings of cash, each of 1,000 coins. The state budget amounted to some 20,000,000 strings of cash. In 1038 the payments amounted to 500,000 strings, but the budget was by then much larger. One is liable to get a false impression when reading of these big payments if one does not take into account what percentage they formed of the total revenues of the state. The tribute to the Kitan amounted to less than 2 per cent of the revenue, while the expenditure on the army accounted for 25 per cent of the budget. It cost much less to pay tribute than to maintain large armies and go to war. Financial considerations played a great part during the Sung epoch. The taxation revenue of the empire rose rapidly after the pacification of the south; soon after the beginning of the dynasty the state budget was double that of the T'ang. If the state expenditure in the eleventh century had not continually grown through the increase in military expenditure--in spite of everything!--there would have come a period of great prosperity in the empire.

justify;">2 _Administration and army. Inflation_

The Sung emperor, like the rulers of the transition period, had gained the throne by his personal abilities as military leader; in fact, he had been made emperor by his soldiers as had happened to so many emperors in later Imperial Rome. For the next 300 years we observe a change in the position of the emperor. On the one hand, if he was active and intelligent enough, he exercised much more personal influence than the rulers of the Middle Ages. On the other hand, at the same time, the emperors were much closer to their ministers as before. We hear of ministers who patted the ruler on the shoulders when they retired from an audience; another one fell asleep on the emperor's knee and was not punished for this familiarity. The emperor was called "_kuan-chia_" (Administrator) and even called himself so. And in the early twelfth century an emperor stated "I do not regard the empire as my personal property; my job is to guide the people". Financially-minded as the Sung dynasty was, the cost of the operation of the palace was calculated, so that the emperor had a budget: in 1068 the salaries of all officials in the capital amounted to 40,000 strings of money per month, the armies 100,000, and the emperor's ordinary monthly budget was 70,000 strings. For festivals, imperial birthdays, weddings and burials extra allowances were made. Thus, the Sung rulers may be called "moderate absolutists" and not despots.

One of the first acts of the new Sung emperor, in 963, was a fundamental reorganization

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