In the autumn of 1997 the World Bank issued ‘China 2020’, a seven-volume report on the key issues and challenges that ‘China must face over the next two decades’. The opening passage reads:
China is in the throes of two transitions: from a command economy to a market-based one and from a rural, agricultural society to an urban, industrial one. So far, both transitions have been spectacultarly successful. China is the fastest growing economy in the world, with per capita incomes more than quadrupling sine 1978, achieving in two generations what took other countries centuries.