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How to Make a Miracle? Ludwig Erhard’s Post-War Price Liberalisation in China’s 1980s Reform Debate

Isabella M. Weber ()
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Isabella M. Weber: Goldsmiths, University of London

No 1903, Working Papers from New School for Social Research, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper develops a comparative and connected history of the debates over transition to a market economy in West-Germany after World War II and in China during the first decade of reform and opening up under Deng Xiaoping (1978-1988). At both historical moments the political aim was to reintroduce market mechanisms into a dysfunctional command economy. The question what kind of price reform this required was subject to heated debates among economists. This paper shows how the West-German 1948 currency and price reform was introduced into the Chinese reform debate by German ordoliberals and neoliberals like Friedman. It traces how the West-German case study was mystified as “Erhard Miracle” and became a metaphor for the shock therapy of universal overnight price liberalisation in China.

Keywords: Ordoliberalism; price reform; socialism; China; market transition; Ludwig Erhard (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 24 pages
Date: 2019-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna, nep-his and nep-tra
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Downloads: (external link) First version, 2019 (application/pdf)

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