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Bureaucracy, Friends, and Money: The Growth of Capital Socialism in China

  • Frank N. Pieke (a1)

Since 1978, the Chinese economic reforms that Deng Xiaoping initiated have given more room to market forces, legalized private entrepreneurship, and decentralized considerable decision-making power into the hands of the directors of state-owned enterprises through responsibility or contract systems. These reforms have produced some spectacular successes. Currently, the Chinese are richer, better informed, and have more personal freedom than at any other time since the Communist victory in 1949. Yet, despite these results, there seems to be no clear-cut plan of reform. At the national level, the policies of reform are the object of constant debate and infighting between shifting coalitions of Party and state leaders. As a result, the reforms are often inconsistent and display a continually changing pattern of radicalization and retrenchment through an array of policy initiatives, experiments, and new legislation.

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