China experience, comparative advantage, and the rural reconstruction experiment
Global capitalism and the future of agrarian society
Since China's accession to the WTO in 2001, "China experience" in the Western theoretical discourse could be extracted into two points. First, China's high growth rate, lasting over thirty years, has benefited from institutional change in globalisation that are implicated with Western ideology. Second, China's comparative advantage in attracting foreign investment can be mainly attributed to its rich labor resource. Clearly, these two assertions are shaping the world's understanding of China in an increasingly profound manner.
Nevertheless, the assertions above contradict a rarely raised bit of common sense: Most of the developing countries have adopted even more westernized institutional reforms than China did, and all large developing nations have the so-called "comparative advantage" of rich labor resources (e.g., in Asia, there are five developing nations with populations over 100 million). But why did economic phenomena similar to China not take place in those nations? Apparently, the Western mainstream theories cannot explain China's economic growth. In other words, what China possesses is not the experience and comparative advantage in the Western sense.
The research in this paper is sponsored by China National Social Sciences Fund for Major Projects (07&ZD048), the Emergency Project (2009JYJR023) of the Ministry of Education, and the 985-project Phase III Funds of the Renmin University China Rural Development Philosophy and Social Science Innovation Scheme.
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ISBN of the source publication: 9781612050379
The first draft in Chinese was published in Open Times, February 2008. This version is revised in March 2009.
Wen, T., Dong, X., Yang, S., Qiu, J. & Lau, K. C. (2012). China experience, comparative advantage, and the rural reconstruction experiment. In A. Dirlik, R. Prazniak & A. Woodside (Eds.), Global capitalism and the future of agrarian society (pp.77-89). Boulder, Colorado: Paradigm Publishers