The Market beyond Neo- and Ordoliberalism: Competing Visions of Marketisation after World War II and in China’s Reforms

Isabella Weber, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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. The 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.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 44. The Neoliberal Moment in East Asia