China’s Growth Markets

COASTAL CHINA, HOME TO 400 million people of mercantile and urban culture, has been the world’s fastest growing economy over the past decade. But now it, and the rest of the country, face formidable problems.

To prevent runaway inflation, thousands of unproductive and unprofitable state enterprises that employ millions of workers and are a key power base for the Communist Party must be dismantled. Social tensions are mounting as peasants stream into overcrowded cities where there is no housing, no health care, and far too few jobs. And a nationwide power struggle has begun in anticipation of the octogenarian leadership’s passing. Their successors may not be democrats.

Yet where the internal effects of ...

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