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  • Misleading Chinese Legal and Statistical Categories: Labor, Individual Entities, and Private Enterprises

    Philip C. C. Huang 2015/07/02
    The mixing of socialist and capitalist discourses in Reform China has engendered some complex and misleading usages of key legal and statistical categories. This article considers three in particular: “labor,” “individual entities,” and “private enterprises.” The meaning of the word “labor” has changed from its early days’ meaning of the “working class” in a Marxist revolutionary perspective into a relatively privileged group classified along with government officials as “employees-workers” who are under the protection of formal labor laws and regulations. The category in fact excludes the great majority of China’s laboring people today, who work mainly in the informal economy, considered to belong outside the official legal-statistical category of “employees-workers” and formal “labor relations,” and to belong rather under casual or “task-based labor relations,” not covered by the state’s labor laws. “Individual entities,” on the other hand, includes mainly self-employed artisans, peddlers, and service workers closely tied to peasants, even as it includes also a minority of new-style shops and eateries, higher-paying service entities, and other individual businesses. As for “private enterprises,” it includes mainly small-scale businesses that currently employ an average of just 13–15 people and does not include the larger private and part-private firms. They are also as a rule not formally incorporated as limited liability companies with separate “legal person” status and are therefore not considered legal “employing units” that are involved in “labor relations.” As will be seen, literal usage of these terms according to their surface meanings in English without consideration of the complex historical backgrounds and changes in the categories can lead to some serious misunderstandings of Chinese realities, as has occurred in even some of the best scholarly studies of China—by Ching Kwan Lee, Kellee Tsai, and Yasheng Huang.
  • Capitalization without Proletarianization in China's Agricultural Development

    Philip C. C. Huang 2015/07/02
    Marxist as well as classical and neo-liberal theories expect that the development
    of capitalist agriculture will be accompanied by the spread of an agricultural
    proletariat. That was what happened in eighteenth-century England; it is
    also what is happening in contemporary India. This article asks, first of all: just
    what is the size of China’s present agricultural proletariat? And how do we
    understand and explain those dimensions? Our finding is that, contrary to our
    own initial expectations, hired agricultural year-workers in China today total
    only 3 percent of all labor input in agriculture (and short-term workers another
    0.4 percent), in sharp contrast to India’s 45 percent, this even while the past
    two decades have seen very substantial “capitalization” (i.e., increased capital
    input per unit of land) in agriculture. We term the phenomenon “capitalization
    without proletarianization,” perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of recent
    Chinese agricultural development.
  • A Brief Comment on Ivan Szelenyi’s Comment

    Philip C. C. Huang 2015/07/02
    Ivan Szelenyi argues that no third way alternatives to capitalist market economy
    and socialist planned economy are possible, a conclusion he reached
    after his own searches for such dating back to the 1980s. My comment
    responds to his two main points, about a “real estate bubble,” and hence
    the non-sustainability of Chongqing’s third finance, and the historical failures
    of third ways in Eastern Europe and Russia, and hence the likelihood of the
    same failure in Chongqing and in China.
  • Chongqing: Equitable Development Driven by a “Third Hand”?

    Philip C. C. Huang 2011/11/12
    Chongqing’s experience suggests that while Janos Kornai is surely correct
    about shortage in a planned economy, he is mistaken that market signals
    may only be employed under an economic regime of private property.
    Chongqing has called instead on government-owned firms, and their market
    earnings and appreciation, to fund social equity programs and infrastructural
    construction. This “third hand” is different from Adam Smith’s “invisible”
    first hand, which, on the basis of rational individuals pursuing their own
    interests, supposedly generates a self-regulating and optimizing market
    economy; it is also different from the second hand, by which the state
    engages in a variety of interventions in order to perfect the functioning of
    such a market economy. Its main actors are state-owned and not privately
    owned enterprises but, unlike earlier state enterprises, it strives not for
    the profit of the enterprise but rather for social equity and public benefit.
    It in fact at once challenges and utilizes the other two hands. Though stateowned,
    in the context of China’s current political-economic system and
    the globalized economy, this third hand does not behave like a monopoly;
    rather, it must compete against the other two hands, and not only against
    other localities within China but also other nations and economic entities
    outside China. Only if it succeeds in driving economic development under
    such competition can it become a “model” with wider application in China
    as a whole. And only thus can it, in a globalized economy dominated by capitalism, establish equitable development as a realistic alternative. Thanks
    to the Chongqing “experiment,” the question is no longer just a theoretical
    or ideological one, but one of observable and evolving realities.
  • Beyond the Right-Left Divide: Searching for Reform from the History of Practice

    Philip C. C. Huang 2011/11/10
  • Introduction to "Constitutionalism, Reform, and the Nature of the Chinese State: Dialogues among Western and Chinese Scholars, III"

    Philip C. C. Huang 2010/01/24
  • Preface

    Philip C. C. Huang 2009/12/12
  • Review of Chinese and Japanese Scholarship: Editor's Note

    Philip C. C. Huang 2009/07/16
  • Editor's Foreword

    Philip C. C. Huang 2009/07/16
  • Editor's Note on Transliteration

    Philip C. C. Huang 2009/07/14
  • Editor's Foreword

    Philip C. C. Huang 2009/07/14
  • The Paradigmatic Crisis in Chinese Studies: Paradoxes in Social and Economic History

    Philip C. C. Huang 2009/07/14
  • Ideology and Theory in the Study of Modern Chinese Literature: Paradigmatic Issues in Chinese Studies, II

    Philip C. C. Huang 2009/07/08
  • "Public Sphere "/"Civil Society" in China?: The Third Realm between State and Society

    Philip C. C. Huang 2009/07/06
  • Editor's Foreword

    Philip C. C. Huang 2009/07/06