Economics Department Working Paper Series

Working Paper Number

2021-20

Publication Date

2021

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 vision of universal overnight price liberalisation in China – a core element of shock therapy.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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