China has become deeply integrated into the world economy. Yet, gradual marketization has facilitated the country’s rise without leading to its wholesale assimilation to global neoliberalism. Isabella Weber’s book How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate (Routledge, 2021) uncovers the fierce contest about economic reforms that shaped China’s path.
In the 1980s, China’s reformers were sharply divided. They agreed that China had to reform its economic system and move toward more marketization—but struggled over how to go about it. Should China destroy the core of the socialist system through shock therapy, or should it use the institutions of the planned economy as market creators? With hindsight, the historical record proves the high stakes behind the question: China embarked on an economic expansion commonly described as unprecedented in scope and pace, whereas Russia’s economy collapsed under shock therapy.
Isabella Weber joins us to present her book and discuss the struggle over the reform course and its implications for state-market relations in China since the 1980s.
Date: Saturday, June 5, 2021
Time: 8 a.m. EDT/U.S. – 2 p.m. CET/Europe – 8 p.m. CST/China
Topic: How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate
Speaker: Isabella Weber
Moderators: Daniel Fuchs + Ralf Ruckus
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The speaker: Isabella WEBER is Assistant Professor of Economics at The University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Research Leader for China at the Political Economy Research Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from The New School for Social Research and a Ph.D. in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge. She works on the economics of China’s reforms and the political economy of global trade.
Reading list for the event’s Q&A:
China and Neoliberalism: Moving Beyond the China Is/Is Not Neoliberal Dichotomy (Isabella Weber)
Sponsors: This event is co-sponsored by gongchao.org, Made in China Journal, positions politics, and Critical China Scholars. The foundation Stiftung Menschenwürde und Arbeitswelt (Berlin, Germany) provided financial support for the technical platform.
For other events, please, see the “China and the Left”-series page.