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Title: Communists constructing capitalism : socio-economic uncertainty, Communist party rule, and China's financial development, 1990-2008
Author: Gruin, Julian Y.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 3191
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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To what extent does China's experience of economic reform since 1989 compel a reconsideration of the ontological foundations of contemporary capitalist development? China's political economy remains characterized by a unique and resilient political structure (the Chinese Communist Party) that penetrates both 'private' (market) and 'public' (state) organizations. The conceptual rootedness of contemporary theories of comparative and international political economy in a distinctly Western historical experience of capitalist development hinders their ability to understand Chinese capitalism on its own terms—as historically, culturally, and globally embedded. To generate greater analytic traction in understanding China's otherwise paradoxical constellation of actors and dynamics, I argue that contemporary capitalism should be studied as a set of mechanisms for managing and exploiting socio-economic uncertainty, rather than according to the binary logics of state regulation and market competition. These mechanisms can be conceptualized as an overarching risk environment. On this basis, I trace how the cognitive frames, social institutions, and relational networks that emerged within the 'socialist market economy' in China's post-Tiananmen financial system have placed the Chinese Communist Party at the nexus of the state and the market. I argue that specific ideas emerged about how to manage the flow of capital, playing a significant role in underpinning expectations of financial growth and stability. During this period the financial system underpinned the CCP's capacity to both manage and exploit 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. Rather than viewing the path of financial reform in China solely in terms of 'partial' or 'failed' free- market reform, it thus becomes possible to cast China's development in a new light as the product of a more concerted vision of how the financial system would enable a mode of economic development that combined the drive for capital accumulation with the distinctive socio-political circumstances of post-1989 China.
Supervisor: Hurrell, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Global economic governance ; Political science ; International studies ; Asia ; Islamic art ; China ; capitalism ; financial governance ; Chinese Communist Party ; economic sociology