Development State, Entrepreneurial State: The Political Economy of Socialist Reform in Xinju Municipality and Guanghan County

Part of the Studies on the Chinese Economy book series (STCE)


In social science, the subject of study generally changes much faster than our ability to conceptualise, much less theorise, it. This has happened once again with respect to the problematic of reform of state socialism. Caught flat-footed by the phoenix of Dengism which rose not once but twice from the ashes of late Maoism, China studies was forced to cast about for an analytical framework appropriate to the radical changes in political economy. For state-society relations, totalitarianism was resuscitated, both in its familiar old dark visage and as a newly refined conceptual progeny shorn of the theoretical excesses and political biases of the progenitor.1 At the level of development strategy and attendant political conflict over it, the paradigm of two-line struggle soon found itself confronted by the more hydra-like three-line struggle.2 And for the study of the actual planning and administration of development, many returned to the language of decentralisation. Indeed, there was a virtual stampede back to the conceptualisation offered in the mid-1960s by Franz Schurmann of decentralisation I and decentralisation II, because it was the most sophisticated and powerful discussion of the topic available.3


Political Economy Developmental State Municipal Government Developmental Role County Government 
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  1. 1.
    The most prominent example of the simplistic resuscitation of a totalitarian approach was Simon Leys, Chinese Shadows (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1978).Google Scholar
  2. A more sophisticated and measured approach is Tang Tsou, ‘Back from the Brink of Revolutionary “Feudal” Totalitarianism,’ in State and Society in Contemporary China, ed. Victor Nee and David Mozingo (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983), pp. 53–88.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Gordon White has applied it specifically to the political realm in “The Post-Revolutionary Chinese State,’ in State and Society in Contemporary China, ed. Victor Nee and David Mozingo (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983), pp. 27–52.Google Scholar
  4. For analyses covering the more general realm of political economy, see Dorothy Solinger (ed.), Three Visions of Chinese Socialism (Boulder: Westview Press, 1984)Google Scholar
  5. Peter Van Ness and Satish Raichur, ‘Dilemmas of Socialist Development: An Analysis of Strategic Lines in China, 1949–81,’ in China from Mao to Deng, ed. Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1983), pp. 77–89; andGoogle Scholar
  6. Gordon White, ‘Revolutionary Socialist Development in the Third World: An Overview’ and ‘Chinese Development Strategy After Mao,’ in Revolutionary Socialist Development in the Third World, Gordon White, Robin Murray and Christine White (eds) (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1983), pp. 1–34 and 155–92Google Scholar
  7. 3.
    Franz Schurmann, Ideology and Organisation in Communist China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), pp. 175–8, 196–200 and passim.Google Scholar
  8. For just two examples of the early return to Schurmann’s analysis of decentralisation(s), see Mitch Meisner and Marc Blecher, ‘Administrative Level and Agrarian Structure, 1975–1980: The County (W)as Focal Point in Chinese Rural Development Policy’, in China’s New Development Strategy, Jack Gray and Gordon White (eds) (London: Academic Press, 1982), p. 58; andGoogle Scholar
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  10. 4.
    Robert Wade and Gordon White (eds), Developmental States in East Asia: Capitalist and Socialist (Brighton: Institute of Development Studies Bulletin XV, 2, April 1984)Google Scholar
  11. Wade and White (eds), Developmental States in East Asia, A Research Report to the Gatsby Charitable Foundation (Brighton: Institute of Development Studies Research Report #16, November 1985); andGoogle Scholar
  12. Gordon White (ed.), Developmental States in East Asia (London, Macmillan, 1988)Google Scholar
  13. 5.
    Wade and White, ‘Introduction’, in Developmental States in East Asia, A Research Report, p. 11.Google Scholar
  14. 9.
    Gordon White, ‘The Role of the State in China’s Socialist Industrialisation,’ in Developmental States in East Asia: A Research Report, pp. 227–8.Google Scholar
  15. 10.
    Vivienne Shue, ‘Beyond the Budget: Finance Organization and Reform in a Chinese County,’ Modern China x, 2 (April 1984), pp. 147–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 11.
    Marc Blecher et al., The Tethered Deer: The Political Economy of Shulu County, forthcoming.Google Scholar
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    See Theodore Lowi, ‘Four Systems of Policy, Politics and Choice,’ Public Administration Review 32 (July–August 1972), pp. 298–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Alec Nove, The Economics of Feasible Socialism (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1983), p. 201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 21.
    See their ‘China’s New Agricultural Revolution,’ in The Chinese Economic Reforms (ed.) Stephan Feuchtwang and Athar Hussain (Beckenham, Kent: Croom Helm, 19830, pp. 151–84.Google Scholar
  20. 22.
    Gordon White, ‘Chinese Development Strategy After Mao,’ pp. 155–92.Google Scholar

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© Gordon White 1991

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