The Genesis and Evolution of China’s Economic Liberalization

This article tells the story of how China’s pro-market reforms were initiated and continued despite many bumps in the road. What is striking is that many of the reforms began at the local level and were motivated by the desire for greater economic freedom. Entrenched interests opposed departing from state-led development under the plan, but courageous individuals were willing to experiment with market alternatives to increase their freedom and prosperity.

The bottom-up reform movement eventually led to the creation of a vibrant market economy sanctioned by the state. It would be misleading, however, to think that China has established a genuine free-market economy. Such a change would require limited government, widespread private property rights enforced by an independent judiciary, and the safeguarding of basic human rights.

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