China alone accounts for three-quarters of reduction in poverty around the world. Within a single generation, this country has morphed from a socialist backwater, poorer than Bangladesh and Chad in 1980, into the world’s second-largest economy. True, there remains tremendous inequality in China. Many have not benefited from prosperity. Still, its past growth has lifted 700 million people out of extreme poverty, which is no mean feat.
The global community has been either reluctant to take lessons from China’s dramatic success in reducing poverty for one striking reason: It is an autocracy. Yuen Yuen Ang discerns what to learn and what not to learn from China’s poverty reduction strategy.