中国为什么会经历繁荣?

普罗维登斯,罗得岛——中国正在庆祝被官方称之为“改革开放”的30周年纪念日。以这种方式来标注时间映射出中国的帝国历史。在政治转型期——比如一场军事胜利——皇帝也许会指定一个特殊的“年号”来帮助庆祝这个好消息。一次政治崩溃后,朝廷也可能会尝试使用新的年号,以便把过去所犯下的错误一笔勾销。唐朝最后一位皇帝在14年中公布了7个年号,徒劳无益地试图重新评价自己的统治,避免政权走向衰亡。

1978年,邓小平开始了“改革开放”。“改革”是指本着实事求是、按部就班的原则,放松中央对经济生活的管制,以矫正毛泽东的“革命”理念。与此相似,“开放”则预示着中华人民共和国与国际社会——特别是西方资本主义社会融为一体。邓的原则直到今天还在发挥着政策指导作用。

必须回顾满清王朝(1644-1912)及其在18世纪长达60年的“天朝繁荣”(乾隆)才能找到与之相媲美的连贯的政治和经济政策。“改革开放”年代在“始作俑者”逝世后的10多年仍然生机勃勃,而且在从邓到江泽民再到胡锦涛的政治权力更替中成为一根贯穿始终的主线。即便是中国共产党有史以来面对的最大的民意挑战——1989年游行,现在看起来也更像是帮助邓巩固对其发展模式支持的一个标记。

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