The Price of China's Economic Development: Power, Capital, and the Poverty of Rights (Asia in the New Millennium)
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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 Development urges 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.
interpreted in the West. The power-capital economy and power-capital groups in the 1980s and 1990s, first of all, naturally favored exclusive control, which in turn bred monopoly because naked power “admits of no competition or conflict— there is no engagement.”34 Generally speaking, the power-capital groups were eager to exclude other interest groups from participating in market competition so as to maintain their own position of monopoly. It is necessary to note that the power-capital economy
discourse, political governments, economic systems, and legal systems.10 In sum, according to Seumas Miller, an institution has “three dimensions, namely, structure, function and culture.”11 Therefore, by definition, the power-capital institution is a kind of mixture that combines and integrates political power and economic capital essentially embedded in structures, functions, norms, values, faith, discourses, governance, economy, law, and ways of life.12 Obviously, the study of the
means for entrepreneurs to cleanse their image or protect their property. Nonetheless, party membership still carried with it certain privileges not readily available to non–party members, and it at least provided entrepreneurs an expedient way out of their current predicament, at least temporarily. It might also serve as a bridge or a stage for further integration of private capital and political power in China.55 52 The Price of China’s Economic Development Aside from seeking party
The poverty that erodes the lives of many individuals is not rooted in their lack of ability or diligence; it often results from an unfair and unjust environment that has deprived them of necessary rights, thus generating a vicious cycle. As one British minister for international development has pointed out, many poor people are “excluded as a result of their nationality, status, geographical position, gender and alleged lack of capability. Especially serious is the fact that, when decisions are
of the world. The lack of knowledge and unwillingness of the house churches to protect their own rights contributes to the deprivation of their religious rights. The tendency for some Chinese Protestants to avoid politics may stem from the teachings in the Bible, such as the dictums that “my kingdom is not from this world” and “give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”73 However, the prerequisite of the last statement is that the emperor (i.e.,