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State and Society in China's Political Economy: The Cultural Dynamics of Socialist Reform

Chih-yu Shih
ISBN: 978-1-55587-580-0
1995/207 pages/LC: 94-23749

"A thoughtful discussion of the role of values in Chinese economic policy and behavior."—Yasheng Huang, American Political Science Review

"An unusual and interesting book."—Perspectives on Political Science

"A subtle, ground-breaking analysis... This is an intriguing book."—Australian Journal of Political Science

"A well-argued, highly insightful and timely book.... a useful analysis of China's enterprise reform that adds to our grasp of the Chinese political economy in transition."—The China Journal


As China's reforms take root, the differences between the traditional value of harmony and the socialist norm of class struggle are becoming increasingly obscured. Chinese citizens are, in fact, theoretically allowed—even encouraged—to be socialist and profit-driven at the same time.

Chih-yu Shih looks at this precarious dyad, demonstrating what reform has done to the country's political and economic mechanisms and, equally significant, how the coexistence of collectivism and individualism continues to dominate the thinking of China's reformers. Considering the issue from cultural, moral, political, and ideological perspectives, Shih deconstructs the popular question of whether Chinese socialism has died.

In the second part of the book, the results of Shih's insightful private interviews with planners, general managers, party cadres, and ordinary workers reveal the delicate and complex interrelationships among them. Also of special value is the author's comprehensive bibliography of Chinese-language sources on economic reform.


Chih-yu Shih is associate professor of political science at National Taiwan University. His publications include China's Just World: The Morality of Chinese Foreign Policy (Rienner 1993).


  • Indigenous Socialism: Cultural Tradition vs. Socialist Ideology.
  • Calculated Socialism: New Economic Concept.
  • Market Socialism: Macroeconomics With Conscience.
  • Enterprise Socialism: The Production-factors Market.
  • Acquisitive Socialism: The Consumers' Market Culture.
  • Unit Socialism: The Role of the Enterprise.
  • Managers' Socialism: Investment Motivation.
  • Individualized Socialism: The Workers' Culture.
  • Profiteering Socialism: School Enterprises.
  • Conclusion: The Principle of Self-consciousness.