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The Economy of China: A Tourist's View

James Tobin

Chinese Economy, 1975, vol. 8, issue 3, 25-46

Abstract: I visited the People's Republic of China for two weeks, September 8-22, 1972, together with Professors John Kenneth Galbraith and Wassily Leontief, in the first of a series of visits by U.S. academicians and scientists arranged by the Federation of American Scientists and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Our hosts were the Academy of Sciences, the Scientific and Technical Association, and Peking University. We spent a day in Canton, a week in Peking, a day each in Nanking and Hang-chow, three days in Shanghai, and nearly two days traveling by train. We spent two and a half days in Peking in discussions with economists from Peking University and from the Academy's Institute of Economics. A similar but less elaborate discussion took place in Shanghai with economists of Futan University. In addition, we visited an arts and crafts workshop, a cotton textile factory, a machine tool plant, a rural people's commune, a grocery supermarket, a large department store, an industrial exposition, a high school, and a hospital. We found all of these visits and discussions extremely informative. Nevertheless, we are acutely aware of the vast gaps in our information about the Chinese economic system. Very few macro-economic data were available to us, and we were not able to talk to economists and other responsible officials in the planning and operating agencies of the government.

Date: 1975
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