It may seem overly ironic, but my nine years in China gave me hundreds of reasons to see the power of economic freedom driving the growth of a Communist nation. But not pure Communist. Rather, the government of China describes the nation as “Socialist with Chinese characteristics.” What’s the difference? A wildly successful abandonment of collectivism and embracing the power of economic incentives — you know, profits and personal incentives as in Capitalism 101 — to drive growth and innovation. A few rays of freedom can change a vast landscape.

Fascinated with China’s economic success and its embrace of intellectual property (a form of private property), my curiosity over China’s economic story continued to grow. That would lead me to a pilgrimage in 2017 to the tiny village of Xiaogang in Anhui Province. It’s a town that hardly any Westerners have heard of, much less visited but it’s a place with a remarkable story of courage and change that the world needs to understand.

What I learned in that pilgrimage is described in an article for the Foundation for Economic Education, FEE.org, See my story, “How Eighteen Hungry Farmers Beat Collectivism and Helped China Succeed: Lessons from the Village of Xiaogang,” FEE.org, Dec. 27, 2022. That story is told with an intellectual property (IP) perspective in a major IP blog. See “Desperate Heroism and the Thunder of a Quiet Revolution: The Rise of China‚Äôs Economy and IP System,” IPWatchdog, Nov. 11, 2021.

A painting celebrating the turning point of China’s economic recovery: 19 brave farmers in Xiaogang, Anhui Province, put their lives on the line to abandon collectivism and recuse their village from starvation. The incredible results inspired Deng Xiaoping to officially abandon the disaster of collectivism. The result was an incredible book in the economy and better lives for many millions.