chapter  8
TIJE MANAGEMENT OF TilE RURAL ECONOMY: TilE INSTITUTIONAL PARAMETERS
ByAndrew Watson
Pages 29

WhonowmanagesproductionatthebasiclevelintheChinese countryside?1Howdotheymanageit?Whataretheinstitutional, politicalandsocialconsequencesofChina'snewruraldevelopment strategy?Howarethenewsocialrelationshipscreatedbychanges inthedistributionofeconomicwealthandpowerarticulated?How dotheseconsequencesfeedbackintoruraleconomicgrowth?The profoundchangesintheChinesecountrysidegeneratedbythe reformsoverthepasttenyearshaveraisedawiderangeofissues whicharestillintheprocessofbeingresolved.Toalargeextent, questionsofthiskindstillrequireconsiderationofthemajorrole playedbystateinstitutions,ruralcadresandpartyorganizations. Thesesettheparametersforruraleconomicactivity.Their economicandadministrativedecisionsinfluencethewaypeasant householdsbehaveandthewaysocialrelationshipsfunction.After tenyearsofeconomicreform,however,thefaceofthecountryside haschanged.Thedecisionsoflocalgovernmentandvillagecadres arepremisedonadifferenteconomicsystem,characterizedby decentralizationandgrowingmarketforces.Thefreedomsgranted tothepeasantshavecreatedagenerationofruralentrepreneurs whoareforgingnewsocialandeconomicrelationships.Theeconomicandgeographicmobilityofordinarypeasantshascreated freshambitionsanddifferentformsofbehaviour.Therelative prosperityofthecountrysidehastransformedpeasantsattitudesand ledtodemandswhichdidnotexistadecadeago.Thepeasantshave notonlydevelopedanewsenseoftheirowninterestsincontrastto thoseofgovernmentandurbansocietybutalsoarcexperiencing newsocialrealignmentsamongthemselvesbasedonsuchthingsas accumulationofwealth,entrepreneurialandtechnicalskills,and shiftingchannelsofpatronage.Allofthesechangeshaveraisednew

questionsaboutthenatureofChina'sruralsocietyanditsdirection. Thischapterattemptstoaddresssomeoftheissuesinvolved.