China’s planners want the benefits of free, voluntary markets without allowing free, voluntary markets:
China’s urbanization has risen from an insignificant share in the 1950s to more than half, depending on how migrant workers are counted. But Beijing’s scientific planners have decided this “natural” rate is too slow. So now, one quarter of a billion must be moved to newly built cities whether they want to or not. Presumably the families forced to move will be those with skills not suited to the city. They will sit in government apartments, for which they must pay, without jobs and without the security that their private plot gave them to scratch out subsistence.
I guess China’s leaders do not understand that a worker’s or farmer’s income is determined by his or her productivity, not by where he or she lives. An older farmer who moves to the city to be unemployed will have even less to spend on manufactured goods. If it makes economic sense for them to move to the city, even for part of the year, those remaining behind would have moved already.