By Minxin Pei
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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The rise of China as a great power is one of the most important developments in the twenty-first century. But despite dramatic economic progress, China's prospects remain uncertain. In a book sure to provoke debate, Minxin Pei examines the sustainability of the Chinese Communist Party's reform strategy--pursuing pro-market economic policies under one-party rule.
Pei casts doubt on three central explanations for why China's strategy works: sustained economic development will lead to political liberalization and democratization; gradualist economic transition is a strategy superior to the "shock therapy" prescribed for the former Soviet Union; and a neo-authoritarian developmental state is essential to economic take-off. Pei argues that because the Communist Party must retain significant economic control to ensure its political survival, gradualism will ultimately fail.
The lack of democratic reforms in China has led to pervasive corruption and a breakdown in political accountability. What has emerged is a decentralized predatory state in which local party bosses have effectively privatized the state's authority. Collusive corruption is widespread and governance is deteriorating. Instead of evolving toward a full market economy, China is trapped in partial economic and political reforms.
Combining powerful insights with empirical research, China's Trapped Transition offers a provocative assessment of China's future as a great power.
aco_books said on Oct 26, 2008, 10:22
The author claimed that the transition of China is trapped by the predation of the state, namely, corruption. Pei argued that the state capacity and institutional norms are reduced by the decentralization of economy under the political logic of gradualism. On the one hand, the state has to maintain the rent-seeking behaviors of local cadres and intelligentsia. On the other hand, the state has to deal with the growing contradiction between state and society. Therefore, the developmental state will continuously become incapacitated.
The idea is interesting, but the evidence is inconsistent with the other studies. Most of observers have found that the fiscal capacity of the central government is progressing (e.g. Yang 2004). Thus, a more convincing analysis of the spend of public finance is necessary for Pei to support the "trapped argument."
戀戀風塵 said on Mar 19, 2007, 07:37