Friday, September 25, 2009

Instability and Mongol Dominance

This reading focuses mainly on the instabilities that brought the Mongols to their knees. Granted, they did not have the issues of Baghdad (a great drought,) but they were nonetheless crippled by issues arising from their ruling system.

Namely, the parasitic nature of tribute as a basis for the state. They relied on the labors of conquered peoples to fuel their war machine, meaning their subjects perpetuated their own persecution. The demands of defense rose, and new sources of surplus had to be found, but the economic structure was not generative.

Their nomadic structure also required them to constantly expand geographically. Expansion of surplus required the conquest of more and more productive units, and any shock would topple the system. If conquering could not be done, the system was forced to contract, not adapt.

Lastly was the Black Death, which wiped out a huge portion of the population and decimated the Mongol work force, forcing them to retreat back into their mystic mountains where everything smells like soup and the trees are made of pumpernickel bread.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting points, but please try to develop them more; remember - expected posts here should be closer to one page than one paragraph.