Socio-Economic History

Vol. 74, No.2

Fujian rural society of the 1930s and 1940s under the rule of the Chinese Nationalist government

This article examines how the Chinese Nationalist government ruled Fujian rural society in the 1930s and 1940s by focusing on such issues as family registration, reform of land administration, and agricultural cooperative services. In 1934, the Chinese Nationalist government took control of Long-yan county in west Fujian, which had long been a stronghold of the Chinese Communist Party. Subsequently, in order to exercise control over its rural population, the new regime carried out a series of extensive reforms. Initially, it introduced a family registration system for conscription purposes. This was then followed by reform of the land administration, which was expected to increase land tax. Finally, an agricultural cooperative was founded and spread throughout the area. As these three reforms were interrelated, by examining their implementation we can understand the extent of the Chinese Nationalist government’s control over the Fujian rural population. Moreover, given that lineage ties had been traditionally very strong in this area, this article also inspects how these reforms were in turn affected by the social structure of Fujian rural society.


The institution of the raw-silk trade at the Yokohama foreign settlement in the early Meiji era: the economic meaning of the 'Rengou-Kiito-Niazukarisho' incident

Starting with the assumption that institutions play an important role in economic development, this paper aims to analyze the institutional structures in the Yokohama foreign settlement. The true economic meaning of the 'Rengou-Kiito-Niazukarisho' incident, an important topic in economic history, is clarified through this analysis. As exports increased, the quality of raw silk exports from Japan declined. The cause of this was unfair and dishonest transactions. To deal with the problem, foreign mercantile houses established a 'private chop' and an inspection system known as 'haiken'.

However, the foreign mercantile houses often carried out their inspection in an arbitrary manner. As a judiciary system had not yet been established, the Japanese raw silk merchants dealt with the situation by forming a trade organization. In addition, 'Kiito-aratamekaisha' and 'Rengou-kiito-Niazukarisho' were established aiming to replace foreign mercantile houses as the primary institutions controlling the inspection and selection of raw silk. The 'Rengou-Kiito-Niazukarisho' incident was essentially a dispute over the premiums earned from the inspection and selection of raw silk.


Regulation or free trade: a discussion of the grain distribution system of the Polish Ministry of Distribution in the years 1918-1921

This paper concerns policies of the Polish Ministry of Distribution (Ministerstwo Aprowizacji), which controlled the requisition and distribution of the food from 1918 until even after the Polish-Soviet War, which ended with a ceasefire in October 1920.

The compulsory requisition system appeared inefficient as early as World War I as a result of the peasants' lack of cooperation with German authorities and the black market trade. Leonard ZABOROWSKI recognized this inefficiency in July 1918 and wrote an article proposing a contingent system as an intermediate way by introducing some elements of free trade into the prevailing compulsory requisition regime.

During the first years of the Second Republic, ZABOROWSKI's idea was put into practice as the remedy for the food crisis. However, conflation of the German-style compulsory system with only a limited free market mechanism caused true chaos.

Under these circumstances, the ministry was forced to choose between introducing either free trade or a more restricted regulation of trade. The ministry attempted to cope with the crisis by importing grain from the United States and Romania to supply cheaper bread. To finance these imports of grain, the government flooded the capital market with paper currency. However, a drastic devaluation of the marka left Poland no choice but to implement free trade.


New housing estate and income disparity between different socio-economic groups in 1920s Germany: a case study of the family model of tenants in the Weegerhof housing estate, Solingen

In 1920s Germany, the earnings gap between the working class and Mittelstand (middle class) decreased. Existing studies show that despite their increase in income, workers were still not able to afford to rent an apartment in new housing estates. However, this article makes clear that some workers, although still being a minority, began to rent new apartments in the 1920s. Through a case study of a new housing estate, Weegerhof, Solingen, this article identifies and clarifies the factors that made it possible for workers to rent new apartments.

The most important factor is seen as the family income as a whole. For example, in workers' families, not only the main income from the father is relevant but also the incomes of his working sons who still lived at home and helped pay the rent. The majority of the tenants though were tradesmen families or couples, characterised as being middle class and usually living as a typical nuclear family. Finally, it is shown that as the gap in total family income narrowed between workers and tradesmen, the gap in housing expenditure also became smaller between these two groups compared to the situation before World War I.