The Run of the Red Queen

The Run of the Red Queen: Government, Innovation, Globalization, and Economic Growth in China

Dan Breznitz
Michael Murphree
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 288
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Run of the Red Queen
    Book Description:

    Few observers are unimpressed by the economic ambition of China or by the nation's remarkable rate of growth. But what does the future hold? This meticulously researched book closely examines the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese economic system to discover where the nation may be headed and what the Chinese experience reveals about emerging market economies. The authors find that contrary to popular belief, cutting edge innovation is not a prerequisite for sustained economic vitality-and that China is a perfect case in point.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15272-2
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. Introduction: An Invention of My Own
    (pp. 1-9)

    This book rebuts two myths.

    The first concerns the relationship between innovation and economic growth. A pervasive misconception among policy makers and academics has made excellence in innovation—defined solely as the creation of new technologies, services, and products—the holy grail of economic growth.

    The second myth addresses the misframed debate about China’s unprecedented rate of economic growth—10-plus percent of gross domestic product (GDP) annually for twenty years (OECD 2006). Many scholars judge China’s success against the model followed by other developed industrial powers. They look for the fabled creature of “true” innovation, a novel-product innovation-based industry resembling...

  6. Chapter 1 The White Knight Avoided: Economic Reforms and Innovation for Growth in China
    (pp. 10-34)

    This book argues that the pattern and trajectory of Chinese development, which we refer to metaphorically as the run of the Red Queen, allow China to develop unique capabilities that, coupled with the vastness of the Chinese market and labor force and its specific sociopolitical and economic institutions, make China a highly advanced, perhaps even the ultimate, workshop of the world. This position, thanks to an impressive array of innovational capabilities and a multitude of competing dynamic regional models within China, not only is sustainable for the medium and long term but also has continually prompted rapid economic growth and...

  7. Chapter 2 Rules of the Run: The Politics of Chinaʹs Institutions of Innovation
    (pp. 35-85)

    Politics is the key to understanding China’s run of the Red Queen. Economic behavior in high-risk long-term activities such as R&D is extremely sensitive to the institutional environment in which it takes place. The Chinese system, massively transformed since 1978, has been constantly refashioned by political battles both at the center and between the center and the regions in a contest to determine the pace and shape of reforms. Understanding how these contestations are settled is crucial to understanding the path taken by the Chinese IT industry. The resolutions of these political confrontations have institutionalized specific incentives that stimulate particular...

  8. Chapter 3 Beijing
    (pp. 86-125)

    To the eyes of a first-time visitor, Beijing is the ideal showcase for the rise of China’s rapid-innovation-based industry and unceasing improvement in R&D capabilities. Touring the IT parks of Haidian District, the visitor is bombarded with statistics celebrating the sheer volume of R&D-based start-ups, R&D centers of leading MNCs, research labs within China’s major universities, central-government research units, and emerging Chinese technology giants. The cultivated image is one of large corporations, foreign and domestic, competing with exciting start-ups to lure the best graduates of China’s premier schools to work in R&D-intensive operations. There certainly is some truth to this...

  9. Chapter 4 Shanghai
    (pp. 126-159)

    Everything is bigger, better, and faster in Shanghai; even the roads are elevated to a height equal to the tallest buildings in many Chinese cities. Shanghai projects an image of cosmopolitan sophistication, a gleaming metropolis of global big business, and it is the only Chinese city with a university system comparable to Beijing’s.¹ Furthermore, because it has a long history of working with foreigners and MNCs, a strong and capable local government, and the most rule-bound environment on the mainland, Shanghai sees itself as China’s business capital. Its IT industry has an impressive array of large-scale companies, both foreign and...

  10. Chapter 5 Shenzhen and the Pearl River Delta
    (pp. 160-194)

    Prevailing wisdom contends that the Pearl River Delta has no technological innovation capabilities. The PRD has come to be known in the Western world as a region of the Dickensian factory towns where poor migrants toil in sweatshops to produce commodities for export, to the joy of foreign consumers. Chinese, especially Beijingers and Shanghainese, look down on the entire region and its capacity for industrial R&D. When we spoke with entrepreneurs in Beijing and asked about their companies’ innovation activities in Shenzhen, a typical reaction was laughter followed by: “Shenzhen? Shenzhen is nothing but a manufacturing center—not a place...

  11. Conclusion: The Meaning of the Run: China and the New Realities of Global Production
    (pp. 195-206)

    This book was motivated by the need to dispel two myths. The first is the Western techno-fetishism of novelty, which equates innovation only with the creation of new technologies and products. The second myth is about China and the rather peculiar tendency of many scholars and the popular press to judge the country’s success by comparing it with an idealized conception of Silicon Valley. Throughout the book, we argue that within the current, globally fragmented production system, China has been sustaining its run of rapid economic growth, the world’s longest, by innovating in many stages of production, but not in...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 207-237)
  13. References
    (pp. 238-264)
  14. Index
    (pp. 265-278)