Interdependence and the problems of adaptation : the case of China in the 1980s
This thesis is concerned with certain characteristics of the development of global interdependence as they apply to the case of China. In particular it examines the processes and problems involved in the policies of "reform and opening-up" as they affected China's adaptation to the world economy during the 1980s. The thesis places this examination within a historical context and it considers the ways in which ideological and other legitimating institutions have been challenged as the reformers shifted from a Maoist self-reliant developmental strategy to a more interdependent and outward-looking one. This study is a systematic attempt to examine the problems involved in the pursuit of reformist policies that necessarily entail ever-deepening relations of interdependence with a largely capitalistic international economy on the one hand, and in the Chinese Communist leadership's attempt to maintain and develop a socialist political system on the other. Instead of focusing on the formation of policy, on the decision-making structures and processes at the higher levels of the system as numerous writings on China's reforms have done, this thesis draws heavily on the dynamic changes in the social base and focuses more on the lower levels, especially the enterprises level, and is based on my field research in China. This study shows that, after more than a decade of opening-up, China has markedly increased its interdependence with the world economy, which has not only helped China achieve its dramatic economic growth, but also played an important role in generating changes in cultural, political and perceptual areas. As a result, the possibility of China's further integration into the world community is greater than ever. However, the Communist Leadership's fundamentally flawed strategy of seeking to combine economic liberalism with political authoritarianism has caused a series of setbacks in China's development in the 1980s. Their continued refusal to consider fundamental changes in the political system means that China still faces an uncertain future.