Sam Pawlett rsp at
Fri Mar 17 22:15:46 PST 2000

Stephen E Philion wrote:
> Steve P writes:

> Sam, what do you think of the market socialist strategy being employed in
> China?

Not much. It looks to me that the Chinese ruling class is imposing the worst aspects of capitalism and the worst of aspects of the old Maoist-state socialism (or whatever you want to call it), shifting its overall ideological orientation away from class structure and towards the state of the nation vis a vis its standing in the international market. They are setting up Western style labor markets without the concomitant freedoms that Western workers have e.g. the right to organize, to strike etc while keeping up or beefing up the instruments of political repression. Looks more like Asian capitalism a la Taiwan or South Korea in the 1970's. Makes me shudder. The stability of the regime will rest on the nature of the class struggle between the new managerial class and the working class and between the traditional peasantry and the new Kulak class that has grown since the advent of the TVA's (which have probably been the most successful of the Dengist reforms.)

What the regime achieves in the way of growth and other macro stats will depend on how well it can discipline the nascent capitalist-managerial class. In short, I don't envy Chinese workers as the country increasingly opens up to the world market. It will be a long struggle and things could get exciting if the workers start acting collectively, independent of the state.

In China, whether right or left faction, labor markets are seen as
> one of the solutions to the problem of socialist productivity.

One of the solutions? I don't think the Chinese rulers have addressed any other ways of increasing productivity or am I wrong?

Wouldn't be better to recharacterize the 'right-left' factions of the Chinese Party as a split between nationalists (like Henry Liu) and out and out pro-imperialist compradores? I just don't see any good coming from the top-down in China.

Btw, I haven't read the Raymond Liu(sp) articles yet--don't have easy access to a research library these days. The recent Robert Weil book is interesting as is Petras' 1988 series in the Journal of Contemporary Asia.

Sam Pawlett

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