An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Chaobilun 鈔幣論

Dec 5, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Chaobilun 鈔幣論 "About Paper Notes" is a book about paper money written during the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Xu Mei 許楣 (mid-19th cent.), courtesy name Jinmen 金門, style Xinmu 辛木, as a critique to Wang Liu's 王鎏 (1786-1843) book Qianbi chuyan 鈔幣芻言.

The book is introduced by a preface of the author's older brother, Xu Lian 許褳, and was printed in 1846. Xu Mei criticized Wang Liu's suggestions to reintroduce paper currency as a remedy for the problematic devaluation of the copper cash in relation to the silver currency. The most important argument of the bullionist Xu Mei was that paper currency would inevitably be inflated because it could be produced in endless amounts, and would therefore not only become useless, but would also damage the whole economy, as could be seen during the Yuan 元 (1279-1368) and early Ming 明 (1368-1644) periods.

Xu argued that money must have an intrinsic metallic value and cannot consist as a pure token for a real value, like paper was. Xu Mei even went further in his argumentation and said that Wang's proposal to introduce paper currency would only benefit the state, and not the whole people.

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