This is from 1972, John Kenneth Galbraith in The New York Times: Galbraith has seen China’s future‐and it works.
There can now be no serious doubt that China is devising a highly effective economic system. Development is from a very low level of per capita production, and that product is still low. With the Communist Revolution, every where in China called the Liberation, decades of national and civil war, endemic pillage and public anarchy came to a end. This, whatever the partic ular economic design, would have led to economic gains. Peace and civilian order are notably pro ductive. But there is massive evidence of great continued movement—new housing, new industrial plants, new building at old plants, the impressive figures on the increase in local industrial and agri cultural production and employment, the supply of basic staples in markets and shops, the people thronging through to buy them and the estimates of relative or percentage increases in production of agricultural and some industrial products.
It is hard to see such idiocy. Almost half a century later the Chinese still live in deep and grinding poverty, although less poverty than then. Their elites continue to thrive. Having had two economists tell me exactly the same as Galbraith just last night, I can only conclude that delusion is as vast and deep as ever.