This volume is but a sequel to my "Finance in China." In that book I tried to give a bird's-eye view of the whole situation of trade and economics in the country. Owing to the number of subjects that had to be dealt with, the treatment was necessarily brief. The situation in China at the moment is full of interesting possibilities. Reform is in the air, and the necessity for it is being felt more keenly than at any past time. No one interested in this country, in any manner, can escape at least the thought of some scheme, or schemes, tending towards the reformation of China's government and finances.
Having given a summary of the financial and economic situation, past and present, it is but a step further to attempt to formulate plans for the future. I have, therefore, endeavoured to sketch some suggestions for reform in this, and the two succeeding volumes on "Taxation in China" and "Industries and Agriculture in China." At the beginning, I believed that I laid my plans on too large a scale, by arranging to treat the whole subject in two volumes. The scope widened as the work progressed, and I found myself confronted with the necessity, of writing, not two volumes, but four.
In the body of the book, I have given my reasons for beginning with Currency and Banking. Even on these subjects, the amount of information available to the average man has been very meagre; hence, I was obliged to go more into detail, than I should have wished, concerning the past, in order to enable my readers to grasp thoroughly my scheme for reform. Especially on Banking, it has been a case of pioneer work, because no one, so far as I can trace, has ever attempted to write comprehensively on that subject.
I do not give out my scheme as the ideal, or as satisfying every requirement of reform. But I believe that it is the most suitable in the present circumstances in this country.
My best thanks are due to Sir Everard Fraser, k.c.m.g., for going through the Mss., and for the several valuable suggestions that I have embodied in the book.
S. R. Wagel.