Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Logic of the Market: An Insider's View of Chinese Economic Reform Paperback – January 16, 2015
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
About the Author
Weiying Zhang is a prominent Chinese economist and is Professor of Economics and director of the Center for Market and Network Economy of Peking University. He was formerly head of the Guanghua School of Management at Beijing University.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Zhang avoids moral positions, avowing that an economist's task is to assess whether a given economic policy is likely to succeed in attaining its stated objectives. He argues effectively that government policies are usually counterproductive. In the context of China's market liberalization, most of the progress resulted from the unintended consequences of government policies, in which at best the government was wise enough to stand back and let it happen. There remains an open question whether the government will remain equally wise in the future.
One of the nuggets is recognition that reform can be blocked by vested interests, that the only way to achieve reform is by buying the vested interests out, and that the buy-out must be a one-time deal. "Take the money and get out of the way." The moralist's perspective is that this is a reward for corruption; the economist's perspective is that this is the only possibility for bloodless progress. Food for thought. (What Zhang does not go into is the possibility that there is no pot of cash with which to buy out the vested interests: how do we deal with Greece? Would the German taxpayer sign up for yet another bailout, even given credible assurances that it would be the last one?)
Zhang argues that market reform should come first, because a strong middle class is essential for political stability, and political reform should follow. India did it the other way, and has as yet not demonstrated that leading with political reform is the better option.
Just two of many thought-provoking observations. Agree with him or not, Zhang is well worth the investment in time and trouble.
Author Weiying Zhang's introduction also fails to note the strong logic of China's government placing development/protective priorities for certain segments of the economy - eg. green and nuclear energy, fossil-fuel energy, improved energy efficiency (obviously they weren't impressed by V.P. Cheney's scornful attitude towards conservation), improving healthcare services and education (the U.S. has major problems in both areas, and lacks major improvement goals), and protecting vital industries (the U.S. has allowed unrestricted free trade to large hollow-out our manufacturing capabilities).
Finally, Weiying Zhang ends his introductory/preface remarks by opining that 'The invisible hand directs people to do the right thing,' the Great Recession 'made the market into a scapegoat' and government assistance an unwarranted 'savior,' and criticizing Nobel-winner Joseph Stiglitz's understanding of the market as 'not up to current standards.' (He could have added Paul Krugman and Robert Shiller - two other recent Nobel-winners with similar views.) The first and second comments reflects basic ignorance, the third adds unmitigated gall.
Weiying Zhang also takes time to blast Chinese government corruption. However, that problem needs to be viewed in perspective. First, its current leader has made credible and substantial progress in reducing such. Second, and more importantly, corruption in the U.S. is also massive - it simply operates much more indirectly through enormously disparate political influence wielded by those making large political donations (businesses and business owners) and in-kind support (unions, especially public-employee unions). Third - China is not the only large nation to attempt transitioning from a government-dominated economy to something much more market oriented. Russia (U.S.S.R.) also did, under U.S. guidance, and far less successfully - enormous corruption in the sale of SOEs to those well-connected who became oligarchs as a result, and while lowering the standard of living and expected lifespans of average Russians in the process. China managed to accomplish this with far less corruption and while boosting standards of living for the average Chinese.
And with that, Weiying Zhang sets off down the wrong-way on a long, one-way street.