The Price of China's Economic Development: Power, Capital, and the Poverty of Rights

The Price of China's Economic Development: Power, Capital, and the Poverty of Rights

by Zhaohui Hong


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813161150
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 07/21/2015
Series: Asia in the New Millennium
Pages: 308
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Zhaohui Hong, professor of economic history at Purdue University Calumet, is the author or coeditor of several books, including Dilemmas of Reform in Jiang Zemin's China.

Table of Contents

Introduction. A Tale of Two Chinas: Power-Capital China and Rights-Deprived China 1

Part I The Power-Capital Institution: The Haves

1 Economy: The Marriage between Power and Money 25

2 Entrepreneurs: From "Red Capitalists" to Intellectual Elites 39

3 Political Culture: Combining Tradition and Innovation with "Chinese Characteristics" 59

Part II The Poverty of rights: The Have-Nots

4 Urban China: The Forgotten Corners 89

5 Rural China: The Divested Farmers 107

6 Migrant Laborers: From Economic Deprivation to Social Segregation 127

7 Protestant House Churches: From Legal Exclusion to Religious Repression 159

Conclusion: The Linkage between the Power-Capital Institution and the Poverty of Rights 193

Acknowledgments 201

Notes 205

Selected Bibliography 259

Index 281

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