Free «Role of the Gentry in Late Imperial China» Essay Sample

Initially, the gentry were considered as an instrument that facilitated revolution and social transformation. The previously existing strict bureaucratic rules allowed them to exercise enormous powers and had access to many privileges. However, over the years, the ties between the gentry started to weaken and it was thus impossible for them to perform the same function. There were no opportunities for them to be in privileged conditions and reduced in favor to other aspects such as education as such, they were unable to perform their functions effectively. In fact, their contribution to the growth of the state became negative.

The elite gentry started having conflicts among themselves, and decided to raise the status of middle class intellectuals. These were chosen in favor of the peasants and poor people and thus the entire agenda of the revolution was undermined. This also contributed negatively to upward mobility, which was the main aim of the early gentry. When the party state control was done away with, suppressed social conflicts resurfaced. The gentry became self centered exploiting these conflicts for their own political interests. Obviously, this did not contribute towards upward mobility. The gap between the rich and the poor was not resolved and thus the discrepancies in wealth distribution.

Some of the negative labels being applied to the gentry include; “hybrid organizations” to depict the fact that the existing gentry was not made up of people who had one goal in mind. They were also referred to as ‘corrupt’ which serves as an explanation of how they misused public property for personal gain. Their behavior is described as ‘malicious competition’ because each one of them had their personal interest at heart. They all wanted the best for themselves and they did this at the expense of other people.


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