In the history of China, the feudal dynasty lasted for thousands of years. The life of a civilized society cannot do without money. Our modern money is mainly paper money, while in the ancient feudal dynasty, the currency in circulation on the market is metal money, such as copper money, silver yuan, etc. We can often see in some ancient costume movies and TV plays that when people go to a restaurant to eat, the price of the dishes is calculated by silver when they order. When they finish the check-out, the waiter will say: my guest, it’s two liang silver in total. Then the generous eater takes out a Ding of five Liang silver and says that there’s no need to change it. The waiter is very happy. How much is the tip worth now?
Silver is a very widely circulated currency in ancient times. It is more valuable than copper money, and it is not as expensive as gold. Therefore, people usually use silver to settle their daily transactions. How much RMB is the purchasing power of one or two silver compared with the present? In fact, the purchasing power of silver in different dynasties is different. Let’s take the Ming Dynasty as an example.
Xiaobian has read a novel about the Ming Dynasty. After reading the novel, Xiaobian wants to know about the purchasing power of silver in the Ming Dynasty and the exchange rate of modern RMB? Through consulting the data, we know that in the middle of Ming Dynasty, the purchasing power of one or two silver was equivalent to 600-800 yuan.
With this exchange rate, looking back, the guest spent two liang of silver, which is equivalent to more than 1200 yuan, when he went to the hotel to have a meal, and he also gave a tip of three Liang to the waiter, which is equivalent to more than 1800 yuan. This tip is really high, which is why the waiter is very happy. How many of them can give a tip of more than 1800 yuan at a time?
In fact, in ancient times, one or two silver was already a large amount of money, just like the 600 yuan banknote now. Of course, the largest face value of RMB was only 100 yuan. Such a large face value was not easy to circulate among the people in ancient times, and the ordinary peddlers could not find it. Therefore, many people had to change one or two silver into silver coins or copper coins.
In the Ming Dynasty, one or two pieces of silver could be exchanged for 1000 Wen, that is, 1000 copperplate, and copperplate could also be exchanged for silver. Of course, the proportion was not stable. At first, seven Wen could be exchanged for one coin of silver, and then it rose to 70 Wen for one coin. In the late Ming Dynasty, 700 Wen could be exchanged for one coin of silver. From this, it can be seen that holding silver was the best way to preserve value in ancient times. Once you exchange for copperplate, you can use the original money It’s not easy to change the price into silver.
It’s the same with our modern society. The US dollar is the international currency. Many people are willing to exchange US dollars with other currencies, and few people are willing to exchange US dollars with other currencies, unless other currencies are needed, especially the currencies of some small countries. The exchange rate is very unstable, and no one is willing to exchange US dollars. And it’s not so easy to exchange small countries’ currencies for dollars.
During the Ming Dynasty, the income of ordinary people was between 2 Liang and 3 liang of silver a month, which is equivalent to 1200-1800 yuan now. Many netizens may have said, can such a small amount of money live? As a matter of fact, it’s not bad for ordinary families to earn 23 Liang a month. It’s OK to have enough food and clothing, and they can save a lot without spending money. This is mainly related to the prices in the Ming Dynasty.
The price of Ming Dynasty was very low. Let’s take the example of Wudalang selling Shaobing in Outlaws of the marsh. A Shaobing costs a few Wen, which is equivalent to a few cents. Pork costs 18 Wen, which is equivalent to more than one yuan. An average family’s annual income is about 30 taels of silver. If it’s just for meals, the average family’s annual consumption only needs about 2 taels of silver.
In modern society, the amount of money a person spends on food a year is about 10000. In the Ming Dynasty, as long as we don’t eat and drink much and don’t eat some expensive food, we can’t spend much money a year. In the Ming Dynasty, what people really spend money on in their daily life is clothes. The people of Ming Dynasty attached great importance to clothing. They would rather have no food tomorrow than wear silk today. The same price of silk would not be cheap.
The gorgeous silk costumes of the Ming Dynasty are also very famous in ancient dynasties, and the wages of textile workers in the Ming Dynasty are generally higher, about 70 taels of silver each. This is a huge sum of money. After working as a textile worker for one year in the Ming Dynasty, you can go home to buy a house and get a wife, and you can also buy a maid by the way.
Therefore, in the Ming Dynasty, although one or two silvers were only equivalent to more than 600 yuan in modern times, their value can not be compared with each other. In the Ming Dynasty, people with an income of 70 Liang silvers a year (equivalent to 42000 yuan in modern times) could buy villas and marry their wives. In modern society, if you earn 42000 yuan a year, you may only buy one toilet. That’s the gap.