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The People's Economy

Format: DVD | Streaming | Download
Length: 12:00
Grade Level: 4-12+ | Price: $ 15.00
Closed Captioned:

Streaming/DVD: English

Why may economic freedom lead to political freedom?

For much of the twentieth century, China was a poor communist country. But over the past twenty-five years, 400 million people in China have escaped the dire poverty of living on less than $1 a day. Average real incomes have increased 440%. The city of Shanghai now stands as a dramatic symbol of the fastest growing major economy in world history. Hundreds of thousands of people work in skyscrapers, some among the tallest in the world. Privately owned designer boutiques line the city's streets.

It would seem that Communist China is using free trade to reinvent itself--but not entirely. In The People's Economy, we meet Shi Hai and his employees at internet gaming company Snail Game. They are navigating the delicate path between China's cultural traditions and their bold, new ideas. China still faces many challenges, including widespread poverty in the countryside. One important question remains unanswered: Will China's new economic freedoms lead to political freedom for the Chinese people?

Subject Areas

Business / Family & Consumer Science


World History / Geography





Property Rights


Economic Freedom

Free vs. Planned Economies

Political Freedom

My students enjoyed the video gaming aspect; a topic that fascinates them. The video shows the growth of a particular industry and its people through the loosening of government restriction. The kids can see the wealth the entrepreneurial spirit, combined with liberty, provides. I appreciated the fact the video presents a clear, modern image of China in contrast to stereotypes and old images of previous regimes.

Adam Frank
Granite Bay, CA

I traveled to China this past summer, and saw the economic growth first-hand. This video was great because it helped me show students what I saw. Thank you!

Janet Hall
Bethany, OK

This was the perfect opener for my discussion of the free enterprise system. It shows how people produce more and better products and are more innovative in a free enterprise setting than in a communistic society. It also illustrated the fact that previously communist systems are adjusting and adapting into free enterprise economies.

Susan Gattis
Hamshire, TX

I really liked the narrative of the video. It showed the stark diffrences between the generations in China. It really helped the kids understand the complexity of China.

Jason Grabner
Milwaukee, WI

My Economics classes were studying economic systems, in paticular the transition from a centrally planned economy to a free market system. This video was a perfect fit and did generate discussion and helped students understand the difficulty of the transition and the benefits to the society.

Cathy Mcdougall
Santa Cruz, CA

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