China’s Capitalism: A Paradoxical Route to Economic Prosperity

Tobias ten Brink

April 05, 2019

MPIfG Book


Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019
328 pages
ISBN 978-0-8122-5109-8

» Publisher's page
ten Brink, Tobias
China's Capitalism: A Paradoxical Route to Economic Prosperity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019.


Since 1978, economic growth in China has outperformed every previous economic expansion in modern history. As major Western economies struggle with the effects of the deepest recession since WW II, the People’s Republic enjoys massive growth rates by comparison. Tireless expansion and inventiveness join a national euphoria in which anything seems possible as China is poised to become a global engine for innovation.
In China’s Capitalism, Tobias ten Brink uses empirical evidence and theories of comparative and international political economy to explore characteristics of China’s socioeconomic system over time, identify key dynamics shaping the system’s structure, and discuss trends in capitalist development. He argues that hegemonic state-business alliances, relative homogeneity of party-state elites, a low-wage regime, and coincidences between domestic and global processes drive China’s rise, and he surveys the limits to the state’s influence over economic and social developments such as industrial overcapacity and social conflict.
China’s Capitalism presents a coherent and historically nuanced portrait of the socioeconomic order of the PRC and the challenges facing its development.


Chapter 1. Analyzing China’s Political Economy
    Insights, Gaps, and Desiderata in China Research
    Researching China from a Political Economy Perspective

Chapter 2. From Mao to the Hu/Wen Era: The Origins and Trajectory of Capitalist-Driven Modernization
     Protocapitalism: The Historical Background to the Transition Under Deng
    The Emergence of State-Permeated Capitalism (1): Two Phases of Reform
    The Emergence of State-Permeated Capitalism (2): Chinas’s Integration into the Global Economy

Chapter 3. Current Developments in Chinese Capitalism
    The Corporate Sector and Socioeconomic Dynamics
    Planning for and with the Market(s): The Heterogeneous Party-State
    The Limits of Chinese-Style Subordination? Developments in Labor Relations

    Capitalist Development in China
    Paradoxes of Prosperity
    Theoretical Implications for Political Economic and China Studies


Tobias ten Brink

Tobias ten Brink is Professor of Chinese Economy and Society and Director of the China Global Center at Jacobs University, Bremen.

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