“Kim Sangseung, what can I get for you? Just say the word.”
Even in the dark night, Jongil’s eyes were sparkling.
Would you mind not staring at me like that? It’s a bit overwhelming.
“It’s easy if it’s easy, and it’s difficult if it’s difficult. As you know, the currency of this country is mainly food and cloth, isn’t it?”
“That’s true. Although Gangwon Province is known for its fur, the leather that can be obtained through hunting has its limits.”
Just like Jongil’s story, the fur of Gangwon Province also has value as a commodity, but it cannot be a currency.
Because the supply was insufficient.
You can get food by farming.
You can also get cloth by cultivating plants to obtain threads and weaving them together.
Both products can function as currency, as they are labor-intensive and can generate a certain income simultaneously.
Moreover, food and clothing are inevitably consumed, and according to the principles of the market economy, their value is naturally maintained.
The best business to make money is money business.
This has been proven by the United States, which operates the printing press.
There is no easier way to make money than to print it.
“I created a new currency called food with herring caught from the sea. Now I’m thinking of creating a second currency.”
“Hmm, I know your skills, Kim Sangseung, but how can you make more cloth?”
“Do you know why cloth production is constant?”
“Well, of course, the amount of thread that can be woven in a year is limited, so people can only grow enough crops to produce about one spindle of thread per month, right?”
And this can be said to be the decisive reason why Joseon has remained poor.
Weaving fabric with a loom is a labor-intensive process.
Our ancestors finished their hard farming work and created extra income by weaving on looms at night.
In a way, the income from these looms accounted for about 30% of a Joseon-era household’s income, so naturally, clothing was precious and used as currency.
But what if the labor required to make a spindle of cloth was reduced by half or even less?
This actually happened in the West about 200 years later.
It’s all because of the development of an invention called the flying shuttle.
Surprisingly, the flying shuttle is considered a great invention that sparked the Industrial Revolution.
In fact, the flying shuttle was a project that had been running in parallel with the construction of the Fair Wind.
I learned online the operating principle of the flying shuttle and checked the design myself, but actually implementing the flying shuttle was not easy.
Because I was a klutz.
I have one amazing talent: if you give me a plastic model, I can make it fall apart in 5 minutes.
In alternate history novels, technology advances as long as there are ideas, but the reality is not so easy.
Moreover, most of the carpenters were involved in making the Fair Wind, and I still needed the help of skilled slaves.
The person who helped me was my mother.
Since making a loom doesn’t require as much labor as building a ship, my mother gladly accepted my request.
There was a man named Gyesam among the slaves, who had exceptional skill with his hands, and he was a natural-born genius.
After looking at my clumsy design and gradually figuring out the principle, Gyesam successfully created the flying shuttle Mark 1 through his hard work.
The performance of Mark 1, born out of Gyesam’s blood, sweat, and tears, was astonishing.
“One of our servants made a fascinating loom, and with it, they easily produced a spindle of cotton in just a week.”
“Are you saying they made a spindle of cloth in just a week? And they didn’t weave all day?”
“They said that if they did that, they would be able to weave a spindle of cloth in half a day.”
Do I imagine the dollar signs in Jongil’s eyes?
“Fortunately, there are quite a few women in Ulsan who have spare time to work, so I plan to utilize them to mass-produce cloth. However, there is a big problem with this plan.”
“…There won’t be enough thread to weave.”
That’s right! You understand me so well, even when I talk nonsense!
In fact, the invention of the flying shuttle also significantly impacted the spinning wheel.
The flying shuttle produced thread at an unbelievable rate, resulting in a shortage of thread, which in turn led to the creation of the spinning wheel.
Afterward, the cotton industry continued to build up technology as if in competition, eventually leading to industrialization.
If the flying shuttle were to be introduced to Joseon, something incredible would happen.
“That’s right. People only spin as much thread as they can, so there isn’t enough thread to make cloth. What do you think? Wouldn’t it become a commodity just by increasing the cotton in this country?”
“It will. This will work!”
“And I’ll teach you how to make this loom, so try spreading it and using it in the barren Gangwon Province.”
“Really? Why on earth…?”
“Yes, all I want is for the people to be satisfied with being able to eat by selling their silk.”
At this point, some nasty reader might curse, “Ugh, this protagonist is such a pushover, giving everything to a person he just met today!”
However, insisting on something like copyright in this era would be futile.
And the foreigners are so powerful that we need to build up our national strength just to compete with them.
Even now, those crazy people are probably fighting, while Joseon, acting like it’s a peaceful time, can barely even scratch the surface. How can they possibly drive the foreigners away?
The only reason the nation didn’t fall during the Japanese invasion was because of heroes like Admiral Yi Sun-sin, an SSS-class hero, hard-carried the war; it wasn’t because Joseon was doing well.
Modern warfare is said to be total war.
This is a concept that comes entirely from a Western perspective.
Before Napoleon, no modern nations used conscription to run their armies, and wars were limited because it was fought under the recruitment system. So, the idea of modern wars being total wars is utter nonsense.
The East has been fighting wars with this concept of total war since ancient times.
The million-strong army the Chinese people boast about isn’t just a figure of speech. It means that a million people were actually mobilized for the war.
Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty tried to break the Goguryeo pot with a million-strong army, but his own pot ended up exploding instead.
The same goes for the Imjin War.
These crazy Japanese people, having no one to pick fights with in their own country, committed the atrocity of dropping 200,000 war demons on Joseon.
Though it’s said to be 200,000, it was a total war since Joseon’s population before the Imjin War was about 13 million.
Since my inventions will also explode along with my mental state during the Imjin War, it’s better to use them to develop a national industry and build up national strength.
I can’t just let those reader punks’ reactions of “Ugh, such a pushover and a no-hoper!” scare me.
Joseon needs to raise its tech tree as soon as possible.
Seeing the screeching noise decrease, I guess my judgment is correct.
Please persuade His Majesty!
“Your Majesty~ here I am!”
The man dressed in a red dragon robe and walking confidently towards the throne was none other than the King of Joseon, Seonjo.
In the 16th year of King Seonjo’s reign, Joseon was enjoying unprecedented prosperity and peace.
Seonjo sat on his throne, studying the faces of his ministers.
Strangely, the ministers don’t look happy today.
Seonjo had exceptional insight, having been the first royal of concubine origin to ascend the throne.
Considering the timing, it doesn’t seem like a natural disaster. Is there a problem in the north?
“Minister of War, you do not look well today?”
“I apologize, Your Majesty.”
Minister of War, Lee Yi, bowed his head towards Seonjo.
“What is the great matter that has darkened the face of the Minister of War?”
“Your Majesty, it is a report from the Northern Garrison’s Lee Jesin. At Isanbo of Gyeongwonjin in Hamgyeong Province, a group of Yeojin Tribe led by Nitanggae attacked. The Gyeongwon Military Commissioner, Kim Soo, bravely fought against them, but as there were 10,000 mid-grade and lower-ranked Yeojin, he had to retreat to Gyeongwon Fortress.”
Lee Yi tried his best to report calmly, but this was no ordinary matter.
“10,000! Did you say 10,000?”
The 10,000 Yeojin Tribe members were more than enough to instill tension in peaceful Joseon.
“I apologize, Your Majesty.”
“Can the soldiers in Hamgyeong Province stop them?”
The ministers looked at each other and finally opened their mouths.
“…I apologize, Your Majesty. Although Gyeongwon Military Commissioner Kim Soo fought bravely, the West Gate was taken, and the fortress was plundered.”
“Hehe! What should we do about this?”
“Your Majesty! I apologize!”
“Are the northern Yeojin Tribe going to leave because you all just keep apologizing? We need a plan, a plan!”
As Seonjo expressed his anger, Minister of War Lee Yi spoke.
“Your Majesty, how about ordering conscription in the five southern provinces of Gyeonggi, recruiting soldiers, and appointing the Patrol Commander, Lee Yong, as the Commander to fight against Nitanggae?”
“Lee Yong, can he alone stop the Yeojin?”
“It is said that Oh Woon and Park Seon have excellent martial arts skills. If they are appointed as Assistant Commanders, they should be able to fight against Nitanggae.”
“Proceed as Minister of War said, but also punish Kim Soo for losing the fortress to the barbarians!”
The ministers bowed their heads in response to Seonjo’s cold command.
“…I apologize, Your Majesty.”
“I feel suffocated hearing about the northern barbarians causing trouble so early in the morning. Is there any good news?”
The ministers glanced at one another, not daring to step forward, and bowed their heads.
Among them, Hwang Lim, who was quite old, opened his mouth.
“New Minister of Finance and Economy, Hwang Lim, reports. Eonyang County Magistrate, Kim Sungbong, has submitted an interesting proposal.”
“An interesting proposal?”
As the King showed interest, Hwanglim let out a sigh of relief and reported to the King about the peculiar incidents happening in Ulsan lately.
“Last year, many fishing boats were built in Ulsan, and the fishing industry thrived.”
“Indeed, it’s quite remarkable. But considering the maintenance costs of each boat, there wouldn’t be much profit, would there?”
“Since many herring are being caught in the coastal waters, the nets are filled to the brim, and people are reaping huge benefits. Dried herring can be stored for a year, so people won’t go hungry.”
“Really? That’s an interesting story. Ah, is the dried fish called gwamegi, which has recently appeared on the market, made from that herring? The more I chew, the richer the taste.”
“Yes, that’s correct. Not only that, but they made fertilizer from the herring’s innards, which produced a whopping 40 bushels of rice from a sixth-grade field.”
At Hwanglim’s report, not only the King but also the ministers in the court were taken aback.
“From a sixth-grade field, 40 bushels? That’s more than 10 bushels per field, isn’t it?”
As the effectiveness of the fertilizer became known in the court, the ministers began to buzz.
Even the ministers couldn’t be unconcerned about food and living problems.
Rather, as they owned vast lands, their eyes sparkled when they learned of a way to increase the yield of their lands.
“Wouldn’t this method, which can produce more food from the same land, make our country even more prosperous? They say it’s not difficult to make, so if we produce this fertilizer nationwide, wouldn’t all the people sing of peace and prosperity?”
“That’s right, Your Majesty! Please promote it!”
“Please promote it!”
“Hmm, it would be good to promote this project to alleviate my people’s anxiety.”
From the King’s perspective, a project that could divert the people’s attention from the restless Jurchen tribes in the north was needed.
Moreover, there was no reason to oppose a project that could fill the people’s bellies and increase the tax revenue because of the increased yield.
“Lord Hojopanso’s words are indeed correct. Have the idle boats among the cargo ships find a way to catch fish and make fertilizer. Also, do not stop there, but build more fishing boats to produce more fish and fertilizer!”
“Your grace is boundless.”
“By the way, who came up with this brilliant idea?”
“It is someone named Kim Hyeonmyeong who lives in Ulsan.”
“Really? What an interesting person. Even his name means wisdom! I will bestow a great reward upon Kim Hyeonmyeong, who has fed my people.”
“Your grace is boundless.”
As Korea realized the abundance provided by the sea and faced the dangerous situation in the north, the country embarked on a full-scale promotion of the fishing industry.
 This was towards the end of the sixth century.
 This would be the year 1583.
 Related to the Jurchen people, which would ultimately overthrow the Ming and establish the Qing Dynasty.
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