34 it is hardly surprising that chinese and indian

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34 It is hardly surprising that Chinese and Indian traders are so astute and competitive today. Between 1500–1800 shrewd Asian merchants could often outcompete those from Europe. For example, Indian merchant maintained and even expanded commercial networks over vast distances. The Indian maritime trade network stretched from Arabia, Persia, Northeast Africa, and the Red Sea to Melaka, Sumatra, Siam, and China. Meanwhile, Indian overland trade networks extended across Central Asia, Afghanistan, Tibet, Persia, the Caucasus states, and much of Russia. 35 Many wealthy Asian trading magnates had huge capital resources. Some Indian traders were as rich as Europe's wealthiest merchant families. A European visitor was amazed at the competition provided by fabulously rich Indian merchants: "We [Europeans] believe ourselves to be the most astute men that one can encounter, and the people here surpass us in everything. And they can do better calculations by memory than we can do with the pen." 36 Similarly the Spanish in the Philippines depended on the Chinese merchant class to supply many consumer goods. A Spanish friar observed in the mid-1600s that although Manila "is small, and the Spaniards are few, nevertheless, they require the services of thousands of Chinese." 37 European
merchants competed best when they were, like the Dutch East Indies Company traders, supported by military force. Like today European-Asian trade relations often favored Asians. Since Asians had little interest in European manufactured goods such as clothing, which they considered inferior in quality to their own goods, Europeans bought Asian goods and resources with American silver and gold. Vast amounts of American silver ended up in China, where it served as the basis of the monetary system and promoted economic growth. Like today Asian goods found a ready market around the world. Chinese goods transported from the Philippines were so much cheaper than Spanish ones in Peru that the Spanish viceroy complained it was "impossible to choke off the trade since a man can clothe his wife in Chinese silks for 25 pesos, whereas he could not provide her with clothing of Spanish silks with 200 pesos." 38 European merchants accounted for only a small proportion of trade from India and China. Unfortunately for Asians,Western colonialism and neocolonialism took hold between 1500 and 1914, thwarting local merchants and industries while giving advantages to the West. Political, economic, and military power in most of Asia had shifted to the Western nations by the later nineteenth century. The Contemporary Asian Resurgence In 1941 Henry Luce, the publisher of Time magazine, declared that the 20th century would be the American Century and that Americans, citizens of the world's most powerful nation, must accept their duty and opportunity to exercise Influence in the world, by whatever means they could. Luce believed that America's idealistic Bill of Rights, magnificent industrial products, and technological skills would be shared with all peoples. His view, while arrogant, reflected American's extraordinary belief in the

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