2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

The Economic Writings of Liang Qichao

Cheng-chung Lai

Department of Economics, National Tsing Hua University

Liang Qichao’s intellectual and political writings have been widely studied, but his ideas on economic events and policies are still insufficiently understood. Between 1896 and 1926 he published 67 texts on economic issues, some are comments on the imperial government’s policies, sometimes he offered new proposals. I use two tables to list these 67 texts, to show their titles, years of publication, main ideas and how they can be grouped into seven categories (monetary reform, taxation, foreign debts, etc.). In the second section of the paper, some relevant references on Liang’s economic ideas are briefly listed and discussed. Based on these 67 texts, section 3 explains where Liang obtained his economic knowledge and the main economic doctrines that he endorsed or rejected. The next section synthesizes Liang’s main ideas on monetary issues, foreign trade, land nationalization etc. The final Section 5 compares Liang’s economic writings with that of Yan Fu. I argue that although Liang’s texts were much more provoking to contemporary readers, in retrospect these texts lack a kind of analytical depth that we sometimes find in Yan Fu’s case, especially in his commentaries on Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations.


Keywords: Liang Qichao, economic writings, Yan Fu.