DOI link for Empowerment revisited
Empowerment revisited book
The 2008 economic crisis caused economic reverberations in nations across the globe, and China was no exception. As a market economy with strong state control, however, China responded differently than many other countries. Concerned with possible repercussions from the United States’ sudden and deep recession, the Chinese state reacted quickly with a four trillion renminbi (RMB) (US$700 billion) rescue package to reenergize the economy. 1 This package consisted of increases in three parts: fixed asset investment, consumption, and net exports. Although this package saved China from an immediate crisis, the economy became unbalanced as the majority of the rescue package went into fixed asset investments, followed by consumption and net exports (Huang and Wang 2010). These imbalances had actually occurred even before 2008, as China’s economic reforms had been ramping up to the full-speed capitalist development since the beginning of the twenty-first century. In 2008, however, 670,000 labor-intensive small- and medium-sized firms reportedly closed down in the major industrial cities in Guangdong Province and 6.7 million jobs disappeared. In the spring of 2009, an additional 20 million migrant workers were laid off and forced to return to their rural hometowns. 2 Politically, the state and the market became further integrated and exerted more control over people’s daily activities. Scholars have explored the direct impact of the 2008 economic crisis on Chinese women workers in terms of job loss and reductions in public welfare (Chow and Zou 2011). This chapter moves beyond that analysis to focus on how capitalist development has subjected women workers to the power of the state and the market and what consequences this has had on gender inequality.