China has been willing to experiment with institutional change since 1978 and has made great progress in reducing poverty. Future prosperity, however, will depend on whether China turns away from the artificial path of market socialism and follows the natural path of market liberalism. The market-liberal vision is not new to China; it was inherent in the Taoist doctrine of wu wei developed by Lao Tzu and his disciples. China’s leaders need only let the Chinese people return to their roots to see the wisdom of letting the spontaneous market process organize economic life, while limiting government to the protection of life, liberty, and property. In that effort, Hong Kong can play an important role by spreading the ‘‘tao’’ of Adam Smith and Sir John Cowperthwaite to all of China—thus allowing the West and the East to meet in one spirit of ‘‘market Taoism.’’
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