Beyond the Middle Kingdom: Comparative Perspectives on China's Capitalist Transformation

By Scott Kennedy | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter Seven
Comparing China’s Capitalists
Neither Democratic Nor Exceptional

KELLEE S. TSAI

The stunning expansion of China’s private sector since the late 1970s has inspired political scientists to speculate that economic development and the ensuing rise of China’s capitalists portend a transition to democracy. By 2007, there were 34 million private businesses, accounting for 40 percent of the GDP and 70 percent of fixed-asset investment.1 Chinese entrepreneurs have become statistically consequential, yet they lack the right to elect political leaders who will defend their material interests. Various observers thus expect that China’s growing population of capitalists will push for democracy to protect their private property rights. For example, Guo Xiaoqin suggests, “An emerging powerful entrepreneurial class could gradually and ultimately become the main engine of China’s reform economy and a constituency independent from state power that demands a strong voice in the political process.”2 Zheng Yongnian similarly predicts, “Chinese business classes are likely to play a role that their European counterparts did in the past. Capitalism is generating a Chinese bourgeoisie. It is a class with teeth.”3

From the vantage point of this volume’s comparative analytic agenda, these types of predictions commit the opposite fallacy of Chinese exceptionalism— namely, assuming the universal validity of modernization theory and the teleological expectations of democracy associated with it. Even though various large-scale quantitative analyses have established a correlation between high levels of economic development and democracy, these triumphalist accounts

-136-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Beyond the Middle Kingdom: Comparative Perspectives on China's Capitalist Transformation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 258

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?