China and Globalization: By Doug Guthrie
This book dissects the history of China beginning on October 1, 1949 when Mao Zedong established a communist nation by weaving together political ideology, economic production and social control. The book goes into great detail and covers the various social, economic and political transformations that have occurred over the past six decades and explains the profound ways in which these reforms have shaped the development of China. According to Guthrie, one of the main reasons for China's ascent towards becoming a world power is because of the gradual reforms that have been taking place. He argues that a slow transition from a command to market economy, rather than a rapid transformation, has allowed the Chinese to create a solid foundation for future growth.
Some of the economic changes that have occurred involve the implementation of an export-oriented costal development strategy and the emergence of Special Economic Zones. These costal areas have helped to attract huge amounts of foreign investment though a combination of tax incentives and appealing geographic locations.
The social changes that have occurred in China over the last six decades have been enormous. Under Mao's rule, people were told where they would work, what specific job they would perform, and how much they would get paid. Now, as private enterprise has begun to emerge, Chinese citizens are learning to adopt western management practices and business strategies. These new business models have become more prevalent not because of a change in ideology per se, but because the Chinese have recognized that the best way to attract foreign investment (from western nations specifically) is to present themselves as an ideal suitor by learning to adopt western practices.
The demand for, and amount of education in China has also been dramatically increasing. Before the reforms took place, education was not of great importance. What was important was where you worked and what job you performed. The role you had dictated your wage, where you lived, and the benefits you received for you and your family, jobs were also guaranteed for life. Education mattered very little, and many uneducated people who were good at their jobs lived comfortably in China for a long period of time. Now, after the reforms have occurred, the guaranteed jobs many people had were lost, and private enterprise has created a competition favoring education over factory skills. At no fault of their own, many Chinese citizens have had to experience this shock with little or no safety net.
To sum up the book, the author believes that China has had a "quiet rise to power" and that the country is taking baby steps towards becoming a capitalist nation. His views of the reforms that have taken place clash with many contemporary economists by stating that gradual change from a command to market economy, rather than a complete and swift transformation, is the key to remaining economically viable. He claims that capitalism in not instinctive, and that certain cultures, such as the Chinese, will have greater success by implementing a private economy slowly rather than all at once.