The statement that the people should get accustomed to the use of coins has a certain modicum of truth in it, although any project making a silver standard coin worth more than its intrinsic value is sure to fail. In spite of the antique methods and want of technical knowledge in connection with assaying and testing silver, the Chinese have, through a long process of ages, become adepts at testing the fineness, etc., so much so that even when two pieces of sycee have the same weight the value differs on account of the difference in fineness. It would be absurd to suggest that a people who are accustomed to such practice could by any possible method be made to take silver standard or unit coins as representing fictitious values - and not their own intrinsic values.
It is hard to say what the future may have in store for this country. It is quite possible, as Dr. Vissering hopes, that at the present moment China may be in the borderland of a vast development. So many reforms are likely to be carried out during the next two or three decades and, with the large progress in the construction of railways, etc., the volume of trade is also likely to increase. It is not at all improbable that radical reform might be successfully introduced in taxation, administration of justice, etc. Industry might advance, wages might rise, the general wealth of the country might increase and there might be an economic revolution, just as has happened in Europe and America after the introduction of steam-engines, telegraphs and machinery in manufactures. Therefore, says Dr. Vissering, China should be prepared for the change with the gold standard. On the other hand, it is also not improbable that as a result of the war now raging in Europe there might be a thorough set-back. For one thing, it is absolutely useless to expect an inflow of foreign capital, to any serious extent. Every country in the world has already suffered and is likely to suffer more if ' the war is prolonged; and it is not at all improbable that capital, trained labour and manufactures in Europe and America would be engaged for the next few decades in setting right the damage done by a few months of warfare. The whole world stands to be impoverished temporarily and the material development of mankind considerably retarded. Hence, one may discard all dreams of China following the course of the European countries in currency. For the moment the most important point of consideration is a reform that would suit present conditions, irrespective of what might happen in the far distant future. It is also unwise to disturb local conditions severely, to favour a gold standard which is neither advisable nor known to be possible.