This paper by Yi Wen explains China's remarkable growth very well:

An excerpt:

By asserting that political institutions and the rule of law are prerequisites for economic development, such theories [i.e. those of Gerschenkron, Acemoglu and Robinson, and others] overlook the endogenous and evolutionary nature of institutions and the frequent disconnections between rhetoric and practice, between the rule of law and its actual enforcement, and between political institutions and economic policies. Thus, these theories end up confusing consequence with cause, correlation with causation, political superstructures with economic foundations, and open access to political power with open access to economic rights. Specifically, universal suffrage was the consequence of the Industrial Revolution instead of its cause, and modern sophisticated Western legal systems and the ability to enforce them were the outcome of centuries of economic development under colonialism, imperialism, mercantilism, the slave trade, and painful primitive accumulations.

Stefan Jovanovich comments:

The Tariff and the Gold Standard - those twin villains of 19th century
American political economy - did for the United States what China has
achieved through the same export-biased mercantilism.



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