Wealth into Power: The Communist Party's Embrace of China's Private Sector
Bruce J. Dickson
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In Wealth into Power, Bruce Dickson challenges the notion that economic development is leading to political change in China, or that China's private entrepreneurs are helping to promote democratization. Instead, they have become partners with the ruling Chinese Communist Party to promote economic growth while maintaining the political status quo. Dickson's research illuminates the Communist Party's strategy for incorporating China's capitalists into the political system and how the shared interests, personal ties, and common views of the party and the private sector are creating a form of 'crony communism'. Rather than being potential agents of change, China's entrepreneurs may prove to be a key source of support for the party's agenda. Based on years of research and original survey data, this book will be of interest to all those interested in China's political future and in the relationship between economic wealth and political power.
keep all future profits for themselves. Those who were less optimistic received discounted sales prices but also agreed to 48 Hongbin Li and Scott Rozelle, “Privatizing Rural China: Insider Privatization, Innovative Contracts, and the Performance of Township Enterprises,” China Quarterly, no. 176 (December 2003), pp. 981–1005. 49 Naughton, Chinese Economy, p. 286. 50 “Introduction,” in Green and Liu, eds., Exit the Dragon? p. 7. The Party’s Promotion of the Private Sector 53 share a portion
initiatives put party branches in the service of the firms, which is just how the entrepreneurs want it. Given the predominantly pro-business orientation of most party and government officials at all levels in China, party organizations within private enterprises support the business interests of the firms and do not burden party members in the firms with additional duties that would not be in the firms’ interest. This is exactly the fear that critics of the party’s relationship with the private
prospered under the reforms, support for a faster pace of change is understandably highest. Among officials, in contrast, there is no difference associated with the level of development. What does matter in their case is bureaucratic rank: in the 2005 survey, more county-level officials than township/village officials believed economic reform was too slow (28 percent vs. 18.3 percent); conversely, twice as many township/village officials believed it was too fast (12 percent vs. 5.9 percent).
These findings are consistent with those regarding the trade-offs on the goals of development and reinforce the point that entrepreneurs have more in common with township/village officials, with whom they have greater proximity and therefore more opportunities to interact, than they do with county officials. County cadres stand out as being less concerned about stability, whether derived from growth, competition, or increased pluralism. Economic, Political, and Social Environments 153 the
allowed to participate in China’s formal political institutions, then the level of development, rate of growth, and size of the private sector should not be related to the probability of being a PC or PPCC delegate. What should matter is who gets selected, regardless of the economic conditions. Because candidates in village elections are more self-selected, their numbers should be higher in the more prosperous areas and where the private sector is relatively large. the results In the analysis