China's New Business Elite (Paperback)

The Political Consequences of Economic Reform

By Margaret M. Pearson

University of California Press, 9780520219335, 217pp.

Publication Date: January 4, 2000

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The transition from a planned to a market economy that began in China in the late 1970s unleashed an extraordinary series of changes, including increases in private enterprise, foreign investment, the standard of living, and corruption. Another result of economic reform has been the creation of a new class—China's new business elite. Margaret M. Pearson considers the impact that this new class is having on China's politics. She concludes that, contrary to the assumptions of Westerners, these groups are not at the forefront of the emergence of a civil society; rather, they are part of a system shaped deliberately by the Chinese state to ensure that economic development will not lead to democratization.

About the Author

Margaret M. Pearson is Associate Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, and author of Joint Ventures in the People's Republic of China: The Control of Foreign Direct Investment under Socialism (1991).