Accounting and Future Anticipation: Customs Policies and Practices in Taiwan, 1850-1990
The Chinese maritime customs, established in the latter half of the 19th century, developed a management method containing modern statistical and accounting concepts with the help of foreign experts. This led to an increase in customs revenues, but China did not entirely adopt Western financial management methods. As a result, two different management methods co-existed both in China and Taiwan. After the opening of ports in the 1860s, Taiwan gradually gained independence from Fujian Province with the support of tariff revenue and was eventually declared a province in 1885. The cession of Taiwan to Japan by the Qing dynasty in 1895 resulted in the termination of the previous customs system. However, after Taiwan came under the control of the Republic of China in 1945, the customs administration experienced a revival until 1991. Once a symbol of progress during the Qing Dynasty, it became a vestige of the past during the Republic of China’s rule in Taiwan. The differing attitudes of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party towards this institution had direct impact on the different economic and trade development in present-day Taiwan and China. My research will focus on ideas of future and modernity in fiscal and economic policies influenced by the West and the clash with the traditional Chinese fiscal systems and shed light on the factors that have contributed to the gradual socioeconomic divergence between Taiwan and China.