Chinese Money in Global Context: Historic Junctures between 600 BCE and 2012

Chinese Money in Global Context: Historic Junctures between 600 BCE and 2012

Chinese Money in Global Context: Historic Junctures between 600 BCE and 2012

Chinese Money in Global Context: Historic Junctures between 600 BCE and 2012

Excerpt

The state can ordinarily expect one-third in profit as some of the
paper money it issues is bound to be burnt, drenched or stolen; and
as some other paper money is deposited along the way, the state
can arrogate one-third of coin proceeds to itself. Only two-thirds
need to be kept in coin as reserve against the amount issued in
notes each year.—Zhou Xingji (b. 1067; Fuzhi ji chapter 1, p. 32)

I do not know which makes a man more conservative—to know
nothing but the present, or nothing but the past.
—John Maynard Keynes (1926, p. 21)

The Chinese economy has always operated by its own monetary
rules, which were usually created and enforced by a powerful state
with a large bureaucracy and a strong army.
—Jack Weatherford (1997, p. 125)

THEMES

This book seeks to offer a fresh reinterpretation of important junctures in Chinese monetary history by placing them in a broader global context and by pointing to critical linkages between the past and the present. Partly inspired by Keynes’s famous insight of 1926, it posits that to adequately appreciate the current transformation of the renminbi possibly into one of the next global reserve currencies one would first need to consider the broader sweep of Chinese monetary history hitherto, with particular emphasis on the late imperial (1368–1911), Republican (1912–1949), and Mao eras (1949–1976).

Equally important, one would need to go beyond the many misconceptions and cliches about the inscrutability and exceptionalism of China’s ancient “monetary rules,” or about the supposedly all-powerful and . . .

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