Is the East Still Red?

Is the East Still Red?

Socialism and the Market in China

Leftist observers of China's political economy, whether they are adulatory or dismissive, have fundamentally misunderstood the role of the market


CATEGORIZED IN

Does China represent a non-capitalist alternative to neoliberal development models? Commentators on the left have offered sharply divergent assessments over the last two decades. A few still cling the old dream of market socialism, twinning efficiency with social justice. For most, however, China is proof that market reforms invariably yield dispossession, inequality, and capitalist restoration.
Is the East Still Red? argues that both interpretations are wrong and exhibit a common failure to distinguish between market mechanisms and capitalist imperatives. Gary Blank situates the Chinese experience within broader Marxist debates on socio-historical transitions and primitive accumulation, highlighting the need to conceptualize capitalism as a unique system in which producers and appropriators depend on the market for their reproduction. Despite years of marketization, the mandarins in Beijing have not yet imposed full market dependence in industry and agriculture. He shows how the resistance of workers and peasants, the imperatives of party-state legitimacy, and the reproductive strategies of individual Communist officials and managers all act to perpetuate central aspects of a bureaucratic-collectivist system, in which direct producers and bureaucrats are effectively merged with the means of production. The People’s Republic may be a non-capitalist market alternative, albeit one that is hardly edifying for socialists.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Blank
Gary Blank Gary Blank is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics (LSE), His current dis...
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
No Local by Greg Sharzer

No Local

Why Small-Scale Alternatives Won't Change The World

Greg Sharzer

Heavy Radicals: The FBI's Secret War on America's Maoists by Aaron J. Leonard, Conor A. Gallagher

Heavy Radicals: The FBI's Secret War on America's Maoists

The Revolutionary Union / Revolutionary Communist Party 1968-1980

Aaron J. Leonard
Conor A. Gallagher

Continuity and Rupture by J. Moufawad-Paul

Continuity and Rupture

Philosophy in the Maoist Terrain

J. Moufawad-Paul

Beyond Capitalism? by Simon Hardy, Luke Cooper

Beyond Capitalism?

The future of radical politics

Simon Hardy
Luke Cooper

Negative Capitalism by J.D. Taylor

Negative Capitalism

Cynicism in the Neoliberal Era

J.D. Taylor

Beyond the Left by Stephen Harper

Beyond the Left

The Communist Critique of the Media

Stephen Harper

Defiance: Greece and Europe by Roger Silverman

Defiance: Greece and Europe

Roger Silverman

We Have Never Been Neoliberal by Kean Birch

We Have Never Been Neoliberal

A Manifesto for a Doomed Youth

Kean Birch