By Kwan Man Bun (auth.)
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Additional resources for Beyond Market and Hierarchy: Patriotic Capitalism and the Jiuda Salt Refinery, 1914–1953
35 Instead, the consummate technocrat and hard-working “salt gabbler” insisted on inspecting all the major divisions in person. He declared as his primary goals the building of a modern inspectorate, a uniform and comprehensive tax at source, and a large free trading area enjoying cheap salt of high quality. 37 His problems began with the difficulties of recruiting a qualified staff. On the Chinese side, high-level appointments at the central and divisional administrations remained vulnerable to politics.
While Dane believed that competition would motivate producers to improve the quality of their salt and cutting prices, his inspection tour had convinced him that solar evaporation was the appropriate technology for China. Endorsing Beijing’s request to divert to other uses half of the 20 million yuan earmarked for salt-related reforms, he noted that investing 3 million yuan of the Reorganization Loan in a salt factory in North China was a waste. 56 Jiuda’s petition thus ran into skepticism and bureaucratic hurdles.
Without reclusing himself because of his family’s substantial revenue farming interests in the Lianghuai division, Zhou ruled that the company’s market be limited to only those foreign concessions found in the “treaty ports” and then only through the exclusive agency of existing revenue farmers, thus confining Jiuda to the thirteen treaty ports with foreign concessions and an additional twenty-five resorts and territories where foreigners could reside by treaty. Turning economic nationalism against Jiuda, Zhou reminded the petitioners of their avowed goal to compete against tax-free foreign imports.