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The Economics and Politics of Transition to an Open Market Economy: China

  • Wing Thye Woo

China is considered to be a particularly successful example of a gradual approach to transition from a command economy to a market economy. This paper reviews the initial conditions, the calendar of reform steps, and the political preconditions for liberalisation. It argues that gradualism was rather the result of a political balancing act between orthodox and reform–minded elements in the Chinese Communist Party than a deliberate approach towards facilitating transition. Economic liberalisation was considered as an instrument for safeguarding the power of the Party, but opinions differed on the degree of liberalisation needed to achieve this goal. Thus, the pace and the direction of the reform process were very much a function of the composition of the leadership of the Party at any given time ... La Chine est considérée comme un exemple notoire de réussite d’une approche progressive de la transition d’une économie dirigée vers une économie de marché. Ce document passe en revue le contexte initial, les étapes de la réforme et les conditions politiques préalables à la libéralisation. Selon l’auteur, cette approche graduelle est davantage le résultat de fluctuations au sein du Parti communiste chinois entre les éléments orthodoxes et ceux ouverts à la réforme, que d’un choix délibéré destiné à faciliter la transition. La libéralisation économique est considérée comme un moyen de préserver le pouvoir du Parti, quoique les opinions divergent quant au degré de libéralisation nécessaire pour atteindre cet objectif. Aussi le rythme et les orientations de la réforme dépendent–ils largement de la composition de l’équipe dirigeante du Parti à chaque période considérée ...

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Development Centre Working Papers with number 153.

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Date of creation: Oct 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:153-en
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