The Traveling Economist, Part 2

At the time of our 1986 interview, Michael had just completed his third trip by rail around China. He had traveled mostly third class, or “hard seat,” which usually means enduring almost unimaginable overcrowding. The hard seat cars were filled with people standing, trying to work themselves onto your seat, chewing and spitting out sugarcane, vomiting from motion sickness and throwing litter everywhere. The employees’ frequent attempts to bring drinking water, to mop up and to clean the toilets, which made first and second class quite presentable, barely seemed to make a difference in third class. But if you wanted Read More