In Search of a Long-Term Development Path for China: Starting From Differences Between Assigning Responsibility and Contracting – Rural China – article

In Search of a Long-Term Development Path for China: Starting From Differences Between Assigning Responsibility and Contracting

Philip C. C. Huang | Rural China

2019-10-22

The “third sphere” born of the interacting of a market economy with a centralized state, and of a system of market contracting 合同 with administrative “assigning responsibility” 发包/承包, has become a key characteristic of the new political-economic system of Reform China. It has imported the private enterprise market economy of the modern West, but has also retained the (revolutionary) tradition of a socialist party-state and its ownership of the principal means of production. Its administrative system resembles more and more the modern West’s (Weberian) bureaucratic system, but it has also retained the traditional imperial Chinese “centralized minimalism” and “parcelized despotism” characteristics. It cannot be grasped by the either/or dualistic opposites mode of thinking, but can only be understood in terms of the combining and interacting of dualistic opposites. The combination may be understood as one concrete and substantive meaning of the officialized term of a “socialist market economy.”

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