Unlikely Partners recounts the story of how Chinese politicians and intellectuals looked beyond their country's borders for economic guidance at a key crossroads in the nation's tumultuous twentieth century. Julian Gewirtz offers a dramatic tale of competition for influence between reformers and hardline conservatives during the Deng Xiaoping era, bringing to light China's productive exchanges with the West.Read more...
Unlikely Partners recounts the story of how Chinese politicians and intellectuals looked beyond their country's borders for economic guidance at a key crossroads in the nation's tumultuous twentieth century. Julian Gewirtz offers a dramatic tale of competition for influence between reformers and hardline conservatives during the Deng Xiaoping era, bringing to light China's productive exchanges with the West.
When Mao Zedong died in 1976, his successors seized the opportunity to reassess the wisdom of China's rigid commitment to Marxist doctrine. With Deng Xiaoping's blessing, China's economic gurus scoured the globe for fresh ideas that would put China on the path to domestic prosperity and ultimately global economic power. Leading foreign economists accepted invitations to visit China to share their expertise, while Chinese delegations traveled to the United States, Hungary, Great Britain, West Germany, Brazil, and other countries to examine new ideas. Chinese economists partnered with an array of brilliant thinkers, including Nobel Prize winners, World Bank officials, battle-scarred veterans of Eastern Europe's economic struggles, and blunt-speaking free-market fundamentalists.
Nevertheless, the push from China's senior leadership to implement economic reforms did not go unchallenged, nor has the Chinese government been eager to publicize its engagement with Western-style innovations. Even today, Chinese Communists decry dangerous Western influences and officially maintain that China's economic reinvention was the Party's achievement alone. Unlikely Partners sets forth the truer story, which has continuing relevance for China's complex and far-reaching relationship with the West.
- ISBN-13: 9780674971134
- ISBN-10: 0674971132
- Publisher: Harvard University Press
- Publish Date: December 2016
- Page Count: 416
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-11-28
- Reviewer: Staff
Debut author Gewirtzs account of Chinas transition from Marxist central planning to socialist market economics is masterful: detailed, balanced, and illuminating. After the death of Mao Tse Tung in 1976, successor Deng Xiaoping encouraged the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to emancipate the mind from outdated ideology. Without any clear plan in mind, Chinese economists embraced Dengs aphorismcrossing the river by feeling for the stonesand began to study both capitalist and socialist economies, looking for objective economic laws that would enrich China. Gewirtz patiently chronicles this halting, frequently frustrating, process. Before even instituting change, progressives had to rewrite party ideology to make free markets compatible with Marxist thought. Economists punished during the Cultural Revolution were returned to the CCP and encouraged to study previously forbidden foreign economic theory. Powerful conservatives in the CCP often slowed or halted progress. And any signs that liberalization threatened political control (such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests) placed reform in jeopardy. Economist Zhao Ziyang, a key figure, spent the remainder of his life under house arrest after opposing martial law. This is a revelatory account of Chinas economic evolution, its debt to Western economic thought, and its love-hate relationship with capitalism. (Jan.)