The reign of Emperor Wu is marked as one of the largest expansionist periods in ancient Chinese history. During his rule, he annexed vast amounts of territory as well as repelled various nomadic invasions from the north, effectively almost doubling the size of the Han empire, many of which remains as modern China today. His rule also oversaw increases in both population growth and urbanization, as well as the rise in wealth distribution amongst a growing merchant class. Overall, the economy during the Wu period can be generalized as industrious and expanding, but could not have existed without the interventionist monopolizing policies that Wu had enacted and effects they had on the general population.
In 110 BC, the Han government established the ever-normal granary system in an effort to stabilize grain prices. The ...
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...s a greater redistribution of wealth amongst the citizenry. They state that while the literati believe it was solely for profit, it was only for the best interest of the citizens.
Ultimately, Emperor Zhao decided to relax the economic policies placed by Wu, removing the monopolies on salt, iron, and liquor. While this was an effort to revert back to laissez-faire economics and allow merchants control over the industries, Bary notes "though a brief period of prosperity followed the relaxation of Emperor Wu 's fiscal policies, the economic health of the nation gradually worsened." (Bary 363) However, without these policies, Wu would have never been able to defend the empire from the nomadic attacks nor expand to the size that they did. While Wu sacrificed the economic prosperity for future dynasties, his policies were important for the survival of the Han dynasty.
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