The Social Order of Chinese Capitalism: Socio-Economic Uncertainty, Communist Party Rule, and Economic Development, 1990-2000

Friday, 3 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
CLM.3.07 (Clement House)
Julian Gruin, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amidst continuing global economic turbulence and a recent change of leadership, China’s financially repressed economy remains characterized by a distinctly resilient political structure (the Chinese Communist Party) that penetrates both ‘private’ (market) and ‘public’ (state) organizations throughout the political economy. To generate greater analytical traction in understanding the nature and origins of this constellation, I develop a framework around the significance of socio-economic uncertainty that provides an alternative to the binary logics of state regulation and market competition.The continuing significance of socio-economic uncertainty crystalizes in the analysis of the role of the financial system within the development of China’s political economy in the early 1990s. During this period the financial system formed a locus of the CCP’s capacity to both manage and propagate socio-economic uncertainty through the path of reform, forming a central explanatory factor in a developmental trajectory marked by a trifecta of rapid economic growth, macroeconomic stability, and deepening socio-economic imbalances. The unique path of financial reform in China should thus not be viewed solely in terms of ‘partial’ or ‘failed’ free-market reform, but rather as the product of a more concerted vision of how the financial system enabled a mode of economic growth that combined the drive for accumulation of capital with the distinctive legacies of China’s post-1989 socio-political circumstances.