That graph…

Click to hear Pearls Before Swine’s ‘Another Time’!

…taken from Why the West Rules–for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris, shows the amount of opium sold by – or perhaps we should say eagerly bought from – the British East India Company in Guangzhou as China’s protectionist trade policies, aimed at accumulating cash as an end in itself, soaked up the supply of silver. In today’s world, at least before China’s current account surplus suddenly vanished in the first two months of this year, the Middle Kingdom effectively exchanges exports for IOUs from the US Government repayable in a currency that will have shrunk significantly in real value. The West rules because others let it?

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7 Responses to That graph…

  1. Jason90 says:

    Maugrim correct.
    3,500lbs is a ton and a half – seems like a paltry amount to have caused an awful lot of fuss over the years – presumably the numbers rise beyond 1832…

  2. Mary Hinge says:

    Gotta say I agree with Jason90.

    Evidence that the weight was *much* more abounds. E.g. from this link:

    We get this …
    “Opium sales had risen gradually from 2,330 chests in 1788 to 4,968 chests in 1810. But once the British got a monopoly, they forced it up to 17,257 chests in 1835, worth millions of British pounds.”

  3. Smedley Tangbottom III says:

    It is a well-known fact that Chinese chests are not very big. Maybe that explains the apparent under reporting (just 3,500 lbs for 1832).

  4. ANON says:

    Hemlock & ilk would just LOVE to restart the opium business, I suspect. LOL. Dream on…

  5. Old Timer says:

    I wonder what a graph would look like for other similarly moreish Western-introduced products, like cigarettes, McDonald’s, XO, Bordeaux, et al.

  6. mumphLT says:

    I was right then?

    Do I win five Great British Pounds?

    Opium will do fine – I know people.

  7. Onan says:

    @ANON What price are you offering?

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