Railway Financing and the Shape of China’s Future: Some Lessons from American Economic History

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Report for the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation “Is it British wealth we want when we desire to develop our resources or build railroads? No, we do not need the wealth, for at this moment we are the richest nation on the face of the globe. We need the money.” – John Brown, Parasitic Wealth, or Money Reform (1898:34) These words were written over a century ago by an American who saw that it was money that put the nation’s tangible wealth, its natural resources and labor, in motion. Recognizing that money was essentially a social and legal institution, a creation of the state, the author urged the government to finance the railroads by printing its own money ...