Friday, November 13, 2015

1889, a Westerner comment on the Chinese currency system

In 1889, a Westerner made the following comment on the Chinese currency system: “…Its (the Chinese currency’s) chaotic eccentricities would drive any occidental nation to madness in a single generation, or more probably such gigantic evils would speedily work their own cure. In speaking of the disregard of accuracy we have mentioned a few of the more prominent annoyances. One hundred cash are not 100, and 1,000 cash are not 1,000, but some other and totally uncertain number, to be ascertained only by experience. In wide regions of the Empire 1 cash counts for 2, that is, it does so in numbers above 20, so that when one hears that he is to be paid 500 cash he understands that he will receive 250 pieces, less the local abatement, which perpetually shifts in different places. There is a constant inter-mixture of small or spurious cash, leading to inevitable disputes between dealers in any commodity

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