Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions. Yu Hyongwon and the Late Choson Dynasty - James B. Palais

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whether there was much land that good. In the south where transplanting was
the standard, less seed was lost in planting, and the crop from a transplanted
crop was 150 percent greater than one planted directly.40
The spread of transplanting was also accompanied by the double-cropping of
rice and barley on paddy land, a new technique that had been known but hardly
used in the first half of the dynasty. Double-cropping of nonrice crops like beans
and millet, as well as mixed fanning of secondary crops on the ridges between
barley fields, had been used prior to 1600, but barley production had been lim-
ited to dry fields primarily because barley was harvested in the late fourth and
early fifth lunar months, too late for beginning the direct seeding of rice. But
when transplanting began, the rice was planted in seed beds and not transplanted
until the fourth or fifth lunar months, which made the double-cropping of bar-
ley possible. Nonetheless, a warm climate was needed and the only area that
allowed ricelbarley double-cropping was in the wannest parts of the southern
provinces. Double-cropping increased production and the income of large
landowners and landlords, tided the poor peasant over the difficult spring sea-
son before he harvested his rice crop, and provided food for relief to the gov-
ernment during famine.^41
The spread of transplantation along with greater irrigation and the double-
cropping of rice and barley should have increased both production and produc-
tivity, but another factor that should be considered was the estimated loss of two
million people (20 percent of the population) from the Imjin War (1592-98)
and extensive destruction of crop lands. It took at least half a century to recover
a large percentage of the arable land lost during the invasions, but the loss of
population should have encouraged the production of a surplus by around the
middle of the seventeenth century.
Even though a logical discussion of the favorable aspects of increased pro-
duction and a smaller man/land ratio than before would indicate an improve-
ment in per capita income, one could hardly discount the testimony of
eyewitnesses like Yu Hyongwon to the contrary. The reason for his negative assess-
ment of the mid-seventeenth situation undoubtedly derives from the continua-
tion of the skewed pattern of ownership and distribution and the prevalence of
slave and sharecropping cultivation that cut peasant income in half and added
more to the landlords.


Emergence of Private Artisans

In the view of Yi Sangbaek, writing in 1962, the Korean economy in the sev-
enteenth century was still what he called a natural economy, not one based on
the exchange of commodities, because of the traditional government policy of
the repression of commerce and industry, the cruel exactions imposed on arti-
sans and merchants by the ruling class, the demands from China for tribute, and

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