在1951年2月24日刊行的英國《經濟學人》（The Economist）週報上、「海外世界」（The World Overseas）一欄中，有一篇報導戰後初期台灣狀況的文章，題目是〈福爾摩沙有多強壯？〉（How Strong is Formosa?），描述了自中國軍隊佔領以來歷任的行政長官與省主席治理的變遷；以下是全文及中文翻譯。
繼任的主席陳誠，宣佈了計畫，要將台灣打造成重新征服中國的強大基地。（按其所稱）相對於他前兩任者的「日本集體主義」與「美國自由主義」，他宣稱其方法屬於「費邊式社會主義」。此時ECAEconomic Cooperation Administration（經濟合作署），美國在戰後初期設立的援外機構已經在中國本部停止運作，福爾摩沙成為了針對「泛中國區域」撥款的主要繼受者。有個俏皮話也應運而生，稱費邊社會主義的第一項成就，是讓領導官員能夠買進新一年型號的美國汽車；不過明顯的改進不久後也到來。肥料的狀況開始有所改善。ECA也刺激了一定程度的工業設備恢復，且提供了技術上的監督。農耕上的改革也開始，其中美國援助與技術顧問扮演著重要的角色；租金受到限制，並改進了流程。
How Strong is Formosa?
[BY OUR HONGKONG CORRESPONDENT]
THE question of how great is Formosa’s ability to resist attack by the Chinese Communists cannot be answered in terms of material strength alone. The morale of the Formosans must also be considered; and this depends, not only on the effect of Kuomintang rule, but also on the history and traditions of the islanders. The Japanese regime was oppressive, politically and socially, and resistance to it continued to a varying extent throughout the fifty years of its existence. But the Japanese did promote industrial and commercial development and public and social services, and they did leave behind them a full framework of law and order, common security and efficient administration. In none of these respects have the Chinese Nationalists maintained the standards necessary to avoid acute disillusionment. The economic resources of the island are strictly limited, and the long and involved traditions of local unrest, separatism and spiritual independence (only partly offset by adherence to Chinese Nationalism) as well as the Formosans’ readiness—unlike other Chinese—to call in foreign help, makes it unlikely that the present regime will endure without close supervision and heavy material aid from the Americans.
The troops of the first Kuomintang Governor, Ch’en Yi, created a bad impression as soon as they landed in 1945; eyewitness accounts describe them as heading straight for the shops ashore, looting stocks and bullying the civilian population. Corruption, indiscipline and uncertainty spread rapidly, in startling contrast to the orderly, though totalitarian, exploitation under the Japanese. It is reported that currency manipulation began at once over the question of withdrawal of the Japanese yen and its replacement by Chinese notes; official statements merely note that there was “prolonged uncertainty” about this. The note issue doubled in the first six months, and increased sixfold in the first 18 months, according to official returns. Confiscated Japanese assets were sold off at the latter date to influential interests, at prices fixed when the inflation was just beginning. Under the avowedly single-party system of the Kuomintang, there was widespread nepotism. The Formosan budget under the Japanese had divided expenses between “salaries and office costs” and “running expenses of public undertakings” in the ratio of 30 per cent and 70 per cent respectively; the official figures under Ch’en Yi’s governorship show a reversal of these proportions, and on the revenue side a vast increase in direct taxation. A vast swarm of speculators and “carpet-baggers” descended on the island; smuggling and lucrative intrigue, running all through the political and administrative machinery, were major activities. There was a vast influx of civilians from the mainland, with no significant investment in productive activities, or even adequate maintenance of the existing facilities. Governor Ch’en Yi was removed from his post in May, 1947; he was recently reported executed for treason in June, 1950, having allegedly surrendered the Shanghai area to the Communists in return for his own safety and fortune.
The next Governor, Wei Tao-ming, succeeded Ch’en Yi in May, 1947. Some effort was made to counteract the hostile feeling remaining from his predecessor’s time, which had ended in a period of violence—described by opponents of the government as an armed rebellion after a massacre of oppositionists, and by official sources as widespread rioting (February 28, 1947). Minor offices appear to have been “purged” by Wei, but there was no sweeping change in the senior ranks. The continuing influx both of troops and civilians put a heavy strain on the economy of the island; many new offices were created, and existing offices enlarged. The Railway Bureau, for example, increased its staff by 25 per cent at this time. Bank loans increased enormously, more than in proportion to the cantering inflation, and activity was predominantly speculative. Not only was there no new investment in fixed capital, but existing installations were rapidly deteriorating; the serious floods of 1947, for example, were at least partly due to the total neglect of the irrigation system. Food production was unsatisfactory, for these general reasons, and also because of a shortage of fertiliser. Governor Wei left at the end of 1948, showing some signs of disappointment, but none of impoverishment.
The succeeding Governor, Ch’en Ch’eng, announced plans to build up Formosa as a powerful base for the reconquest of China. In contrast to the “Japanese collectivism” and “American liberalism” of his two predecessors, his own approach was declared to be that of “Fabian Socialism” [sic]. At this point ECA having ceased operations in China proper, Formosa became the main heir to the allocations for the “general area of China.” The quip was therefore made that the first achievement of Fabian Socialism was to enable leading officials to acquire American automobiles of the new year’s model; but distinct improvements were shortly to come. The fertiliser situation began to improve. ECA also stimulated a degree of industrial re-equipment, and provided technical supervision. Agrarian reforms also began, in which American aid and technical advice played a notable part; rents were restricted, and procedures improved.
The Fabian Governor was succeeded, at the end of 1949, by K. C. Wu, a man of high reputation, well known as a progressive former Mayor of Shanghai. Under his governorship the improvements, with American co-operation, appear to have continued. But the strain on the island is great. The civilian population, which was just over 6,000,000 in July, 1946, was 7,450,000 in March, 1950, and 7,620,000 in October, 1950. As much as half of this may be natural increase (in which Formosa has one of the highest rates in the world), but these figures mean that one in eight or ten of the present population are recent political immigrants, few of whom are direct producers. After the fall of Shanghai (May 25, 1949) 300,000 Nationalist troops are said to have reached Formosa. This sudden increase in the garrison (apparently by as much as 200 per cent), which continued—the authorities now claim 600,000—thus comes on top of a 20 per cent postwar increase in the civilian population of the island. It is pointed out that Formosa is maintaining one soldier and one “non-productive” official per ten of the population, whereas Communist China (so far, though the present war situation may change this) has had only one soldier and one official per hundred of the whole population. A currency reform was effected in June, 1949; inflation has since resumed, but at a milder pace. The new yuan has recently appeared fairly stable at about 10.25 to the US dollar, compared to the rate of 5 fixed in June, 1949.
In spite of some signs of improvement many observers feel that the previous record of speculation, depredation, delapidation and uncertainty has done irreparable harm. The age-old unrest in Formosa is ineradicable by force, and can be soothed only by spectacular social and economic reforms, which may be unattainable at the present time; the possible effect of fifth-column activities is incalculable. A popular Formosan saying is that “we have (since the war) exchanged the rule of the dogs (the Japanese) for that of the pigs.” Lately the participation of the Americans (unkindly described, in continuation of the saying just quoted, as “the swine-herds”) has effected considerable improvements. The “rule of the bear” does not yet appear to local people as a desirable alternative, but there is, all the same, deep disillusionment and some apathy.