Monday, April 12, 2010

398) Kiaochow, China: former German concession (1898-1914)

Kiaochow, China
From Fred Foldvary website

Below are some postage stamps used in the German colony of Kiaochow in China from 1898 to 1914. The first set used German currency, while the second set shows the switch to the Chinese dollars and cents. After viewing the stamps, read on for the story of the only known political jurisdiction in history to use the Henry-George single-tax on land rent. The stamps all have a common ship design which the German Empire used for all its colonies. Note that the postmarks are all from the main city, Tsing-tao. A Chinese beer imported from China still bears the name of that city, which began as a small fishing village and grew into a fine modern city, thanks in large part to the Georgist tax system. Kiaochow serves as a model for all "ships of state," so the ship is an appropriate symbol for the lesson offered by Kiaochow.

Following is a description of Kiaochow adapted from Fred Foldvary's article, "Market-hampering Land Speculation: Fiscal and Monetary Origins and Remedies" in the October 1998 American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Kiaochow, China, also called Chiaochou and, in German, Kiautschou, and now spelled Jiaoxian, became a German colony in 1898. Its main city was Qingdao (Tsingtao) in Shangdong (formerly Shantung) province. In the German territories obtained during the latter 1800s, development had been accompanied by land speculation. The Imperial Commissioner for Kiaochow, Ludwig Wilhelm Schrameier, was a member of the German Land Reformers. At the founding of the colony in 1898, Schrameier established a land tax of six percent, collecting about half the land rent. The collection of the rent not only served as the source of government revenue, but successfully prevented land speculation while Tsingtao developed into a modern city (Silagi, 1984). The colony was taken over by Japan in 1914, reverting to China in 1922. The legacy of Kiaochow continued in China as Schrameier became a consultant to Sun Yat-sen, whose program of land reform, inspired both from the writings of Henry George and the example of Kiaochow, was passed onto the Nationalists and implemented by Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan in 1950.

Silagi, Michael. 1984. "Land Reform in Kiaochow, China: From 1898 to 1914 the Menace of Disastrous Land Speculation was Averted by Taxation." Trans. Susan N. Faulkner. American Journal of Economics and Sociology 43 (2) (April): 167-77.

Stamps using German currency (in Fred Foldvary site)

More on Kiaochow here

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