The Chinese Inflation, 1937-1949

By Shun-Hsin Chou | Go to book overview

Epilogue

If I had to live again the ordeal of the Chinese inflation I would suggest the following monetary and fiscal programs for coping with the problems:

The government's outlay in domestic currency should be budgeted on a monthly basis rather than on an annual basis.

The purchasing power required for the budgeted expenditures should be obtained through these channels: tax collections, issue of banknotes, sales of government gold, sales of foreign exchange held by the government, sales of government properties, borrowing from the domestic market, and any other appropriate measure in attaining that objective.

The principle of minimum cost should be strictly observed in considering all these alternatives. If, for instance, the sale of imports in the domestic market could yield more local-currency revenue than the sale of foreign currency, the government should use its foreign- currency reserve to purchase such imports for domestic sales rather than selling foreign currency in the domestic market. If the cross- rate between gold and U.S. dollars is favorable to gold in comparison with the similar cross-rate abroad, gold then should be imported for domestic sales. Similarly, if a tight local money market permits issuance of some new paper currency without unduly depreciating its purchasing power or increasing the money value of government outlay, the new currency should then be issued to meet the government's need. To follow such a policy would naturally require the government to hold in ready reserve an adequate supply of new bank notes, gold, foreign currency, securities, and a host of commodities for sale. The operation, like that of a department store, would appear to be difficult, but the types of operation actually in use, as the experience in China testified, would not be too numerous.

-272-

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