The problem with this influx was As opium flooded into China its price dropped

The problem with this influx was as opium flooded

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The problem with this influx was: “As opium flooded into China, its price dropped, local consumption increased rapidly, and the drug penetrated all levels of society” (Perdue, 2011,
IMPERIAL PHANTASMAGORIA – A BRIEF LOOK AT THE OPIUM WARS3para.1). This inundation caused a crisis for the rulers of China, who saw the opium trade as having: “…insidious effects on national defense… [and causing]… massive outflows of silver, which destabilized the currency” (Perdue, 2011, p.10). In a very real sense, the extract of the Indian poppy, brought to the Chinese people on British ships was slowly eating away at the foundations of China.The British believed that with opium they had stumbled upon a solution to all of their past trade issues with China. Each British ship that unloaded their cargo of the sticky black substance at Chinese ports left with their holds full of Chinese products and their manifests filledwith future orders for greater and greater quantities of Indian opium. The Chinese goods were fetching ever increasing prices across Europe while their colonial presence in India kept opium supply pricing negligible. It was the perfect economic situation to be in – by the early part of the 19thcentury the British government had become drug dealers to the largest population on the planet. The Chinese government however saw the increase in the opium trade much differently from both an economic, and a societal standpoint. By 1839, ninety per cent of all Chinese males under the age of forty, equating to approximately twelve million souls were addicted to the dream stick. As a result business activity declined sharply, the civil service all but ground to a halt, and the standard of living fell (Hanes & Sanello, 2004, p.363). The country had become a nation of addicts, who were trading Chinese goods not for silver which could be taxed and help fill the depleting coffers of the government, but for a drug which was illegal and as such could not be taxed. The opium trade represented a massive hemorrhage in the Chinese economy. Goodswere going out, but no money was coming in. Therefore, the morally upright crusader against
IMPERIAL PHANTASMAGORIA – A BRIEF LOOK AT THE OPIUM WARS4opium Lin Zexu went to the hub of opium importation and usage, Canton and set alight the opium wars.

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