The question to decide next is: What is the standard, satisfying the conditions that I have already enumerated? The only three monies of account in China that can claim to be accepted as the standard are the Ku'ping tael, the Haikwan tael, and the Shanghai tael. The Ku'ping tael has been the money of the treasury in China for over 200 years; but recently, or ever since the Government finance began to get chaotic, it has been dethroned and the dollar placed in its stead; and the acceptance of the dollar by the Chinese is out of the range of practical politics. Just now the Ku'ping tael is in a maze of confusion, and it is not worth while to take into consideration the claims of the Ku'ping tael in view of the changes that have taken place recently with reference to the finances of the Government. The Haikwan tael is the money of the Customs, and has been so, ever since the establishment of the Maritime Customs. But the objection on the part of the Chinese is that it is an essentially foreign invention and that, in spite of its having been in existence for fifty years, it has never been accepted in business or by the Government. Moreover, if the Haikwan tael is accepted as the standard, the coin would be unwieldy, as its value is one-third more than that of the Shanghai tael; but that, of course, should not be considered a serious objection, as it is quite unnecessary that the standard coins should circulate freely. In Japan there are only fifty-sen pieces and no yen pieces; it is quite possible to have half a tael coins alone circulating in China. But the chances of its acceptance by the trade and by the banks are so few and so remote and so fraught with needless dislocation that its success is problematical. We now turn to the Shanghai tael; it seems to be in every way suited to be the standard of value for the country. Shanghai does more than a third of the trade of the whole country; it is the money centre, both from the foreign and Chinese points of view; and prices, and practically all markets in China are controlled from Shanghai. Even when the Chinese Government borrows or pays money, it is the Shanghai banks that pay the money to and receive money from, the Government. The stock of silver in the country is kept in Shanghai, and any excess of money in other parts of the country always finds its way to Shanghai - Shanghai for the past fifty years has been the distributing centre of trade and all money for the whole country, including the capital.
The money of account in Shanghai is the Shanghai tael, which is the currency of the foreign and native banks and all business. Hence, what better standard could China adopt than the money of account of this money centre? Apart from this, practically every part of the country except possibly the places in the two Kwangs and Yunnan, is acquainted with the Shanghai tael in the regular course of business. Therefore, no other standard has a better claim for acceptance or a better chance of success than the Shanghai tael.