In 1878, in the midst of anti-Chinese agitation, four letters from ““an educated Chinaman,”” Kwang Chang Ling, in the San Francisco Argonaut argued that Chinese commerce and labor were essential to California’’s future progress. The letters, which caused a nationwide stir, were actually written by economist and statistician Alexander Del Mar. His arguments for free trade were prescient, and his economic position on ““the Chinese Question”” drew from a global perspective. Del Mar’’s points resonate in current Sino-US relations and world economic issues.

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