Communists constructing capitalism

State, market, and the Party in China's financial reform

By Julian Gruin

Communists constructing capitalism


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3532-2
  • Pages: 296
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: June 2019
  • BIC Category: Political economy, Marxism & Communism, Capitalism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Communism, Post-Communism & Socialism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Economy, Society & social sciences / Marxism & Communism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Asian, China, Economics, finance, business & management / Political economy
  • Series: Alternative Sinology


Why has China's 'transition' to a market economy not catalysed corresponding political transformation? In an era of deepening synergy between authoritarian politics and capitalist economics, this book offers a novel perspective on this central dilemma of contemporary Chinese development, shedding light on how the Chinese Communist Party achieved rapid economic growth while preserving political stability. Drawing on extensive fieldwork and over sixty interviews with policymakers, bankers and former party and state officials, the book delves into the role of China's state-owned banking system since 1989, showing how political control over capital has been central to the country's experience of capitalist development. It challenges existing state-market paradigms of political economy and reveals the Eurocentric assumptions underpinning liberal perspectives towards Chinese authoritarian resilience.


'Gruin locates the ongoing process of financial reform in China in a longer historical analysis of the emergence of a Chinese form of capitalism. He thus makes a significant contribution to understanding the deeper political priorities underlying the apparent contradictions of the "socialist market economy", and offers valuable insights into the implications of China's rise for the global financial system.'
Shaun Breslin, Professor of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

'In this provocative book, Gruin highlights the pivotal role of the CCP in constructing China's distinctive financial system. This system serves the developmental priorities of the party-state and reinforces political controls while defying many assumptions of political economy that are based on the state versus market dichotomy.'
Sebastian Heilmann, Professor for the Political Economy of China, University of Trier; Founding President of the Mercator Institute for China Studies, Berlin.

'Gruin develops a fascinating politico-economic narrative of China's financial reforms, at the heart of which stands the role of the Chinese Communist Party. He analyses how, by deftly managing economic uncertainty, the Party was able to simultaneously foster rapid capital accumulation and bolster its political control, thus illuminating the contradictions of a financial system unlike any other on earth.'
Christopher McNally, Professor of Political Economy, Chaminade University


List of figures
List of tables
List of abbreviations
1 State, market, and the Party in Chinese capitalism
2 Ancient markets, modern capitalism: China and the problem of Eurocentrism
3 CCP authority and the two faces of uncertainty
4 From Tiananmen onwards: constructing capitalism in the 1990s
5 Entering the world: consolidating capitalism in the 2000s
6 Post-crisis challenges: confronting capitalism in the 2010s
7 Chinese finance and the future of authoritarian capitalism


Julian Gruin is Assistant Professor of Transnational Governance at the University of Amsterdam

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