This essay examines several works that contribute to an understanding of the nature of contemporary Chinese capitalism and its historical development. Core issues include the character of the bureaucracy, which has had a distinctive relationship to capital formation, and the character of the working class. The periodisation of Chinese capitalism and the relation between the pre- and post-reform periods are pressing political and analytical concerns. This essay suggests the advantages of a clearer focus on the dynamics of depoliticisation in understanding the transition. The contemporary left-intelligentsia in China has in large part pinned its hopes on achieving some form of ideological hegemony within the ccp, maintaining that it still operates within its revolutionary tradition. This represents a questionable strategic gamble. Acknowledging the important contributions made by Au’s book and other recent characterisations of China’s political economy from the left, this essay suggests that there remains much to be done.
HeXuefengZuzhiqilai: quxiao nongyeshuihou nongcun jiceng zuzhi jianshe yanjiu[Get Organised! Studies in Peasant Grassroots Organisation in the Era after the Abolition of the Agricultural Tax]2012JinanShandong renmin chubanshe
LuoGangRenmin zhishang: cong ‘renmin dangjiazuozhu’ dao ‘shehui gongtong fuyu’[The People Come First: From ‘The People as Masters of their Own Destinies’ to ‘Common Social Prosperity’]2012ShanghaiShanghai renmin chubanshe
Andreas2010. This is a review of Yasheng Huang’s Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics. Huang replies to Andreas’s critical review in Huang 2010.
Wedeman2012. Wedeman demonstrates that corruption was one means by which local cadre signed on to the reform agenda but concludes that corruption though endemic and serious can be controlled. Current events are bearing him out.
Au references Ding2011a widely-referenced but analytically anodyne book on the ‘Chinese model’.
See the discussion in Riskin1987pp. 20ff. which draws on Xue Su and Lin 1960.
Evans Rueschemeyer and Skocpol (eds.)1985.
Oi and Walder (eds.)1999.
Heilmann and Perry (eds.)2011.
Whyte2010. This study based on fairly robust national-survey data is not as stark in its conclusions as the title suggests but nevertheless suggests that despite widespread dissatisfaction there is little mass inclination toward regime change.
International Labour Organization2012.
Perry and Li1997.
Wang2009. The essay was originally published in Pipan yu zaizao [Critique and Transformation Taiwan] and the translation is slightly amended from the original.