Centralization or Decentralization: the accounting policy of zonglingsuo總領所 during Southern Song


The creation of four zonglingsuo as fiscal agencies in Liang-Huai and Hu-Guang in 1141, and then in Sichuan in 1145, had two goals: the government in Lin’an hoped to draw benefit from more control on the resources in these strategic regions, and the court was politically in search of more centralization by cutting the budget of the military headquarters. But the new fiscal and financial structure based on the fragmentation of the monetary system and the consolidation of the new territorial pattern under military pressure as well, were two clear factors determining decentralization and providing more autonomy to these strategic regions. In brief, a centralization pattern was transformed into a decentralization process in these regions. By exploring change within the accounting organization and operations of the four zonglingsuo, this paper will shed light on the concrete ways through which this decentralization process occurred.


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