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The Price of China's Economic Development

The Price of China's Economic Development: Power, Capital, and the Poverty of Rights

ZHAOHUI HONG
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 308
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt15hvzpf
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  • Book Info
    The Price of China's Economic Development
    Book Description:

    The People's Republic of China has experienced significant transformations since Deng Xiaoping instituted economic reforms in 1978. Subsequent leaders continued and often broadened Deng's policies, shifting the nation from agrarianism to industrialism, from isolation to internationalism, and from centralized planning to market-based economics. As the world strives to understand the nation's rapid development, few observers have comprehensively examined the social and cultural price of the economic boom for the majority of the Chinese people.

    Zhaohui Hong assesses the sociocultural consequences of these reforms in this provocative study. He contends that modern China functions as an oligarchy or plutocracy ruled by an alliance of political power and private capital where the boundaries between the private and public sectors are constantly shifting. This "power-capital institution" based on three millennia of Confucian ideology and decades of Maoist communism exercises monopolistic control of public resources at the expense of civil society and social justice for the majority of citizens.

    The Price of China's Economic Developmenturges policymakers to alter their analytic lens. While industrial and commercial development is quantitatively measured, Hong argues that social progress should be assessed qualitatively, with justice its ultimate goal and fair allocation of resources and opportunity as the main index of success. This sophisticated analysis introduces English speakers to the varied and significant work of contemporary Chinese scholars and substantially enriches the international dialogue.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6116-7
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Introduction. A Tale of Two Chinas: Power-Capital China and Rights-Deprived China
    (pp. 1-22)

    It has been more than thirty-five years since China embarked on a road of economic reform and modernization that has led to the most dramatic economic development, social transformation, and cultural metamorphosis in its five-thousand-year history. China’s rapid development has challenged established theories about economic modernization, which do not seem applicable to the peculiar Chinese situation.¹

    The last few decades have seen a great number of in-depth studies on China’s economic development. However, while the world is recognizing and marveling at China’s economic accomplishments, few, if any, works have examined the social and cultural price of the nation’s economic development...

  4. Part I. The Power-Capital Institution:: The Haves

    • 1 Economy: The Marriage between Power and Money
      (pp. 25-38)

      One of the key consequences and prices of China’s economic development after 1978 was the emergence of the power-capital economy during the 1980s. This combination of political power and economic capital had taken shape by 2002, when Jiang Zemin’s China came to an end.¹ This new composite, superseding the key elements of the original forms of political power and economic capital, functions as a self-governing, self-determining, and self-regulating entity.

      A distinctive phenomenon, China’s power-capital economy has increasingly engaged the attention of scholars in various academic fields, including economics, political science, sociology, and history. Collectively they have attempted to address a...

    • 2 Entrepreneurs: From “Red Capitalists” to Intellectual Elites
      (pp. 39-58)

      As the power-capital economy was gaining domination over Chinese economic institutions after 1978, those who played a key role in running the power-capital economy emerged simultaneously as a new and special interest; they can be called the new power-capital entrepreneurs. They constituted another price of China’s economic development, stimulated by the growth of the private sector and government deregulation from 1978 to 2002. Generally speaking, the new power-capital entrepreneurs had taken shape by 2002, when Jiang Zemin’s era came to an end.

      As a part of the power-capital group, the power-capital entrepreneurs in China are businesspeople and investors who have...

    • 3 Political Culture: Combining Tradition and Innovation with “Chinese Characteristics”
      (pp. 59-86)

      Generated by the power-capital economy and supported by the power-capital entrepreneurs after 1978, China shaped its power-capital culture, a Chinese version of political culture, which became evident by the time of the Sichuan earthquake and the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. As the new price of China’s economic development, the power-capital culture is profoundly reshaping Chinese political culture, social structure, and economic development.

      Having experienced political revolutions during the last century and economic reforms since 1978, China’s politics, economy, and society have gone through drastic changes. However, the slowest, most difficult, and least amount of transformation has occurred in its...

  5. Part II. The Poverty of Rights:: The Have-Nots

    • 4 Urban China: The Forgotten Corners
      (pp. 89-106)

      Economic development in China since 1978 has resulted in simultaneous growth of wealth and poverty; both bespeak the achievements and the price of modernization. By 2002, various estimates placed the urban population living below the poverty line at between 15 and 31 million.¹ However, this number reached approximately 50 million by 2011, based on the measurement of an annual per capita income of 7,500–8,500 yuan.² Similarly, in 2011 there were 128 million rural people living below the poverty line, calculated to be an annual per capita income of 2,300 yuan. This accounted for 13.4 percent of the rural population...

    • 5 Rural China: The Divested Farmers
      (pp. 107-126)

      Generally speaking, the poverty of rights is caused by discrimination against particular groups regarding their social, political, economic, and cultural rights. The most serious problem in China—the poverty of rights—constitutes the most fundamental reason for the overall poverty of disadvantaged farmers.

      Since 1978, insufficiency of material and lack of capability can be seen in the experience of Chinese farmers, but lack of motivation has not been a serious problem in light of the absence of a dependable welfare system.¹ However, the poverty of farmers’ rights is evidenced in the following eight areas: political representation and participation, migration, social...

    • 6 Migrant Laborers: From Economic Deprivation to Social Segregation
      (pp. 127-158)

      In addition to the urban and rural poor, migrant laborers (nongmingong) are another key group who have been deprived of their rights. Migrant laborers are registered as rural residents but work in a town, city, or an industrial site as menial laborers on either a temporary or a long-term basis. They may be distinguished from other migrant workers, migrant farmers, the “floating population,” farmer entrepreneurs, and farmers-turned-workers in three ways.

      First, migrant laborers still have rural household registration (hukou), while the larger group of migrant workers includes those who have urban household registration but have migrated to other cities for,...

    • 7 Protestant House Churches: From Legal Exclusion to Religious Repression
      (pp. 159-192)

      Since 1978, nongovernmental organizations (NGO s) have become a critical and dynamic segment of Chinese civil society, and protestant house churches are probably the most prolific and largest independent religious NGOs. Many house church members have become formidable advocates for religious freedom, civic participation, and the rule of law.

      Based on observations of the causes and characteristics of poverty in both the United States and China, I have analyzed the four kinds of human poverty—that of materials, capability, rights, and motivations—in chapter 4. In a similar vein, it can be argued that, in their struggle to gain rights...

  6. Conclusion: The Linkage between the Power-Capital Institution and the Poverty of Rights
    (pp. 193-200)

    This study has rendered a systemic, historical, and comprehensive analysis of the social and cultural price of China’s economic development during the past thirty-five years. It finds that the power-capital institution and the poverty of rights are simultaneously the dual prices of Chinese modernization, the driving forces behind China’s phenomenal economic growth, and the context for its future developments. The two interrelated issues cannot be avoided or overlooked; rather, they deserve serious attention, rational evaluation, and effective solutions.

    The examination of theories and empirical evidence provided throughout the book reveals the causal connections between the power-capital institution and the poverty...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 201-204)
  8. Notes
    (pp. 205-258)
  9. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 259-280)
  10. Index
    (pp. 281-296)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 297-300)