This book analyses the rise and growth of Chinese economy since the beginning of the country’s transition to a socialist market economy and captures the growth story in its historical backdrop.
Sine 1911, the year that saw the end of thousands of years of despotic rule, China has been constantly on transition and is still in the mode. The last Ming dynasty was overthrown by the Republicans in early 1911 but discontentment was building up. After a short period of troubled republicanism (1911-1928), China witnessed years of political turmoil during the Kuomintang rule that threatened the unity and sovereignty of the country. Finally in 1949, the foundation of People’s Republic of China was laid and this marked China’s rebirth. The euphoria was short lived and was replaced by gloom. But 1978 marked the beginning of a new phase in the life of the nation with the introduction of economic reforms. By 2011, China is expected to complete its transition in totality.
From an autarkic socialist economy in 1978, China has emerged as one of the most powerful economies of the world in a span of three decades and is counted in the category of US and Japan.
Chapter one describes the development that saw China emerging from a pastoral agrarian society into a proto-feudal and subsequently a feudal-mercantile order. It captures the priorities and perceptions of the ruling dynasties and the ruling elite that shaped the tradition and culture of the country. The author tries to show that the economic life of the people and the history of China is a history of the economic oppression of the people and their occasional revolts. The victory of the Mao Zedong-led communist movement is a testimony of this. The collapse of the Ming dynasty in 1911 was followed by over three decades of chaos and political turmoil with no semblance of governance, the people were starving and Nature too was adding to their disastrous life.
Against this backdrop, Chapter two is about China under Mao Zedong. Initially there was great excitement and euphoria in the hope of communism establishing a socialist paradise. Soon it turned into disappointment and disillusionment. The Mao era was one of catastrophe of the 20th century for the people of China.
Chapter three discusses the situation in the Communist Party in the immediate post-Mao period and the struggle for change. This chapter is about the trials and tribulations in the country and how reforms were pushed through during the initial phase that covered the decade 1978-79.
Chapter five is about China’s modern economy as it evolved since the launch of economic reform in 1978 and its many-sided achievements. It highlights the structural changes in the economy alongside its implications, the growth pattern followed by the economy and the factors contributing to this achievement. The chapter also highlights the shortcomings of economic reforms and their manifestations in the form of stark realities where in pursuit of growth, the developmental dimensions get sidelined.
Chapter six is largely an extension of Chapter five, dealing specifically with certain areas of the emerging crises emanating from the growth pattern pursued so far.
Chapter seven talks about the concern of the leadership over the existing growth pattern, its fallouts and consequences. The Eleventh Plan of the government is about the imperative of establishing a harmonious society during the period of 2006-10 which is the Plan period.
Chapter eight discusses China’s globalised domestic economy and high growth, especially its high export growth which will influence the global economy. The question that arises refers to the impact of China’s economy on global trading and economic order. Here China’s role in maintaining the many balances in the existing global economic order is discussed.
Chapter nine is devoted to the momentum of growth which has received an additional boost in the objectives and visions for the Eleventh Plan. The economy is now achieving an accelerated growth of about 10.5 per cent on an average quarterly basis. China’s modern economy is a young economy and the growth momentum is likely to be spurred further.
This book, describing the country’s transition from the pre-revolution feudalistic China to where it stands today, will be of specific interest to China observers, political analysts, economists and planners.
(Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd, B1/1-1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road, New Delhi-110044.)