chapter  4
18 Pages

China's Political Economy and the Transition out of Socialism

WithChristopher J. Smith

China's reforms have produced a major crisis for the Party state, because the course of the reforms has shifted dangerously away from the regime's original vision and because economic performance has effectively replaced communist ideology as the basis of the political legitimacy in China. The fundamental difference between socialist and capitalist economies is reflected in the ownership of the means of production. Until the 1980s the vast majority of the productive forces in China were owned and operated by the state or by the collectives, which are subgroups of the population and include production teams, neighborhoods, communes, and even counties. Mao Zedong's views on revolution also differed from the traditional Marxist emphasis on internationalism. Instead of situating the revolution within the broader context of worldwide socialism—as Lenin and Trotsky had attempted to do—Mao appealed solely to the popular Chinese sentiments.