By Philip P. Pan The New York Times Mon., Nov. 19, 2018 In the uncertain years after Mao Zedong’s death, long before China became an industrial juggernaut, before the Communist Party went on a winning streak that would reshape the world, a group of economics students gathered at a mountain retreat outside Shanghai. There, in the bamboo forests of Moganshan, the young scholars grappled with a pressing question: How could China catch up with the West? It was the autumn of 1984, and on the other side of the world, Ronald Reagan was promising “morning again in America.” China, meanwhile, was just recovering from decades of political and economic turmoil. There had been progress in the countryside, but more than three-quarters of the population lived in extreme poverty. The state decided where everyone worked, what every factory made and how much everything cost. The students and researchers attending the Academic Symposium of Middle-Aged and Young Economists wanted to unleash market forces but worried about crashing the economy — and alarming the party bureaucrats and ideologues who controlled it. Late one night, they reached a consensus: Factories should meet state quotas but sell anything extra they made at any price they… Read full this story
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