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The Making of an Economic Superpower―Unlocking China’s Secret of Rapid Industrialization

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  • Wen, Yi

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

Abstract

The rise of China is no doubt the most important event in world economic history since the Industrial Revolution. The institutional theory of development based on a dichotomy of extractive vs. inclusive political institutions cannot explain China’s rise. This article argues that only a radical reinterpretation of the history of the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the West (as incorrectly portrayed by the institutional theory) can fully explain China’s growth miracle and why the determined rise of China is unstoppable. Conversely, China’s spectacular and rapid transformation from an impoverished agrarian society to a formidable industrial superpower sheds considerable light on the fundamental flaws of neoliberalism and the Washington Consensus and provides more-accurate reevaluations of historical episodes such as Latin America’s lost decade and plagued debt crisis, 19th century Europe’s great escape from the Malthusian trap, and the Industrial Revolution itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Wen, Yi, 2015. "The Making of an Economic Superpower―Unlocking China’s Secret of Rapid Industrialization," Working Papers 2015-6, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2015-006
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    Cited by:

    1. Wen, Yi & Luo, Jinfeng, 2015. "Institutions Do Not Rule: Reassessing the Driving Forces of Economic Development," Working Papers 2015-1, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 01 Jun 2017.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Industrial Revolution; the Rise of China; the Great Divergence; Market Fundamentalism; Neoliberalism; Big Push; Import Substitution Industrialization; Shock Therapy; Washington Consensus; New Structuralism; New Stage Theory.;

    JEL classification:

    • B00 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - General - - - History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies

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