Opium and Trade

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The thought of opium as a topic of conversation in China throughout the late eighteenth century and nineteenth century brought about discussions that varied from arguments for its legalization and praise of its distributors to the complete ban of the drug and punishment for all users and smugglers. For those who acted as proponents of the narcotic, they sincerely believed that this necessary evil was one of the only aspects of the economy that could effectively propel China into the same class as that of the world’s supreme powers (Janin 6). Those who condemned even the slightest interaction with opium or its derivatives opted for the more “honorable” route, in that, they pledged to rid their country of such horrible vices in order to follow a purer path throughout their daily lives (Mackay 124). It was from these arguments that made these debates rampantly widespread throughout the country, with neither side effectively telling the truth about the future of China and ultimately being left to the voice of those in charge of the economy, since they are the ones who control what is worth importing and exporting. If the use of opium were permitted, then the impact would have been generally positive, in that, there would be fewer smugglers to worry about breaking the law, and more profit actually being given to the Chinese government since they would actually be included. On the other hand, basing this drug trade on purely moral and some economic terms, then the people of China will constantly be in a state of intoxication because they will no longer be able to think and process clearly, while the economy of the Chinese government might also not be able to possess the buying power that they would have previously had when they unc...

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