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How China Escaped the Economic Fate of Russia

Members of the People’s Liberation Army honor guard in plain clothes march through the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, on March 3.

Members of the People’s Liberation Army honor guard in plain clothes march through the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, on March 3.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

In the closing decades of the 20th century, the prevailing wisdom among Western economists was that post-Communist countries should hasten their transformation into market economies by pushing “Big Bang” price reforms.

Had China listened to that advice, it may well have ended up like Russia— an economic disaster, argues Isabella Weber, the author of the new book, “How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate.”