For the uninitiated, edited volumes seem like an ideal form of scholarship. They allow us to address a topic more deeply and broadly than we could by ourselves. Moreover, they are vehicles for building and strengthening communities of experts because of the conferences, letters, emails, and phone calls that typically accompany these efforts. Such communication also ends up improving the work of each individual contributor. On the other hand, what is an ideal form in principle may be less so in practice. The uninitiated soon discovers that the process presents an amazing set of challenges— raising funds, organizing the conference, selecting which papers to include, encouraging revisions, and meeting the demands of reviewers, all of which can make the project extend to more years than anyone could rightly expect to accept. I am lucky to report that in this instance, at least from the perspective of the editor, the reality came very close to matching the ideal. Because of—not in spite of—the challenges, I have become much more appreciative of the good nature and quality of the scholarship of my peers and the collective enterprise required for such a project to succeed.
This book began as a conference, “Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: China’s Political Economy in Comparative and Theoretical Perspective,” held at Indiana University in May 2006. IU was supportive in multiple ways. I am grateful to the East Asian Studies Center for helping organize the conference. Its director Jeff Wasserstrom and associate director Margaret Key were instrumental in putting the conference together. Other important contributors to staging the conference include Rachael Brown, Mary Beth Kennedy, Patsy Rahn, Tim Rich, Travis Selmier, and Wang Jianxun. The funding for the conference came from several units on campus: the East Asian Studies Center, the Center for International Business Education and