David Leonhardt’s reporting on his trip to China and his numerous insightful interviews give important insights into development questions of great interest to progressives and socialists everywhere. While its not as long as a book – though I expect Leonhardt will turn it into one – I felt compelled to re-organize the material from the parts that reflect upon some important theoretical and practical questions of market socialism and Marxism. Consider this a review of his "new book," which opens:
But changes here are the kinds that a new breed of Reformers including many industrial workers, service providers and small business/enterprise producers have been recommending for China as a whole. In Leonhardt’s report, the government of Wuqi offers more generous health insurance to its citizens than many places. Its schools are free all the way through high school, rather than through only ninth grade, as is usual in China. Over the last decade, the city has embarked on ambitious tree-planting programs that have brought green to the yellow-brown hills of the Loess Plateau, where Wuqi is located, and where the famed Long March ended in those hills in 1935.
When the Wuqi International Hotel was completed this spring, it immediately dominated the modest skyline of Wuqi, a small city in north central China. The hotel is part of an effort by local officials to reshape a city far from the fast-growing export oriented towns and cities on the coast.
Read more: China’s Consumerism and the Implications for Market Socialism » pa