The Political Economy of Rural Development in China, 1978-1999

By Weixing Chen | Go to book overview

8
Understanding the Political Economy of Development

The underlying theme of this book is that there has always been tension between the two goals of statecraft: to improve people's welfare and to strengthen the state. Tensions often arise when the state fails to balance these two goals of development and when there are discrepancies between central government intentions and local responses. Development in China over the last few decades can be viewed as a search by the state for a balance between the two goals of development. Successes and failures in development in China over the last half-century can be understood in light of the political economy of this search.

Until 1978, the goal of strengthening the state was achieved at the expense of the welfare of the people. China's policies did try to merge developmental with socialist values before 1978; but when they were in tension, developmental values had to conform to a rather rigid interpretation of an ideological ideal. The values and institutions emanating from the Communist ideology thus became the major obstacle to a broader range of flexible policies necessary to address China's developmental problems, as development that would challenge the state was never acceptable. Given these constraints, Chinese policies appeared cyclical, as demonstrated by the cyclical model of ideological campaign and economic development in chapter 1.

Since the December 1978 Third Plenum of the Eleventh CCP Central Committee, concern with communist ideology has been replaced by a concern for development. The Chinese leadership has not only intro

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The Political Economy of Rural Development in China, 1978-1999
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Abbreviations xv
  • 1 - Ideology and Economic Development 1
  • Notes 26
  • 2 - A Party of Economics and Market-Oriented Communal Socialism 29
  • Notes 45
  • 3 - The Dengist Reform in Historical Perspective 47
  • Notes 68
  • 4 - The Village Conglomerate: A New Form of Political Economy 71
  • Notes 98
  • 5 - The Peasant Challenge at the Turn of the Century 101
  • Notes 117
  • 6 - Village Elections for Self-Government 119
  • Notes 134
  • 7 - A New Ideological Discourse: Deng Xiaoping Theory 137
  • Notes 153
  • 8 - Understanding the Political Economy of Development 155
  • Notes 161
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index 169
  • About the Author *
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