CHINA: Epitaph for a Plutocracy

The Municipal Council of the International Settlement of Shanghai was a government as close to a plutocracy as the world has ever seen. For 96 years the Council ran the big city on the Whangpoo mud flats for the especial benefit of a tiny group of the city's biggest Occidental taxpayers, the taipans. heads of the biggest business houses in the Settlement. Last week, after staving off the determined Japanese since 1932, the International Settlement was under Japanese rule.

For 92 of its years, beginning with opium and ending with oil, Shanghai was a boom town of quick, fabulous profits...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!