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When Deng Xiaoping launched China’s strategy of “reform and opening up” in 1978, economists in the West had their doubts. In their view, a vibrant market economy was fundamentally incompatible with China’s authoritarian political system.

But many in the East — including Koreans like me, who witnessed the East Asian miracle while living under developmental dictatorship — were hopeful. Now that China is the world’s second-largest economy, it seems clear that our optimism was warranted.

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