8 May 2012

kaigou: under this playful boyish exterior beats the heart of a ruthless sadistic maniac (2 charming maniac)
Currently reading Trade And Travel In The Far East, the Cambridge History of China (vols 6-8), The Early Age of Commerce, parts of Cultural Exchanges Between The East Asian Seas Ming And Qing Dynasties, and various articles like High Corruption Income in Ming and Qing China, Networks of Malay Merchants and the Rise of Penang as a Regional Trading Centre, Ryukyu in the Ming Reign Annals, and Sino-Japanese Interaction via Chinese Junks in the Edo Period.

Yes. I'm sure it's a hardly-startling reminder that I really am a total geek.

But anyway, the frustrating thing is I have no baseline for any of these articles. So-and-so was corrupt, making X amount of taels from bribery. Is that a high number? I have no idea. How much was so-and-so supposed to be making as a bureaucrat? No baseline. Or, these four junks did the Siam-Fujian run twice each in a year, carrying Y pikuls of rice. Does that mean all four junks were stuffed to the brim? Or is that just the rice-part of their shipments? Is that an overachiever's number of shipping runs, or was that fleet really lazy? This other shipment made so many catties of silver as profit on silk. Is that before or after paying the broker, the shipping magistrate, the dock fees, and how much of that went to sailors? In other words, is that a reasonable profit, or not much one of all once you count out the rest of the costs (and not just taxes)?

So, like I said: no baseline. I could probably deduce the rest, if I could just figure out how much the average sailor would expect to be paid. Or some sense of the cost of things. What was a reasonable market cost for rice, or silk, or fans, or umbrellas, anyway? No one ever lists these things...

Sheesh, I miss being in DC, where if I got really desperate I could haul myself to the Library of Congress.


kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

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