The 16 essays featured in Economic Reform and Development the Chinese Way were chosen from amongst those I wrote and published during the period 1980-1998. They are reflections of my thoughts on certain important issues pertinent to the economic development of China in the intervening years.
For instance, the opening piece, “The role of education in economic growth,” was published in 1980, when the nation was setting about the task of confronting and resolving long-neglected issues shortly after the adoption of the policy of reform and opening up to the world. I was keenly aware of the fact that as a result of the decade-long “cultural revolution” that started in 1966, education had been seriously damaged and its development gravely held back because it was despised by leaders and the masses alike. Consequently, it was imperative to attach the utmost importance to developing education and cultivating talents, and it was against that background that the paper was written. In it I pointed out that if education continued to be scorned in such a manner, China would lose both its present and its future.
“Basic thoughts on economic restructuring” was written in 1986, a little more than seven years after the initiation of economic restructuring in this nation in 1979. By that time, a household contract system had been adopted in rural areas nationwide, which brought about a dramatic increase in farm produce output and an initial improvement in rural living standards. However, in urban areas, the development of state enterprises was hampered, as their management was encumbered by government intervention and their property rights were ill-defined. –