Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy

China’s Uneven and Combined Development

Authors: Rolf, Steven

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  • Outlines how China’s participation in manufacturing global production networks was shaped by geopolitical conflict and strategy
  • Chronicles how China’s reliance on export surpluses prompted a dramatic monetary and fiscal stimulus response to the crisis of 2008
  • Examines the current crisis-ridden economic model and geoeconomic and geopolitical activities such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the militarisation of the East and South China Seas
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About this book

This book mobilises the theory of uneven and combined development to uncover the geopolitical economic drivers of China’s rise. The purpose is to explain the formation and trajectory of its economic ‘accumulation system’ — which remains a confounding hybrid of statist and neoliberal forms of capitalism — as the outcome of China’s geopolitical engagement of the USA during the late stages of the Cold War, and its participation in manufacturing global production networks (GPNs). Fear of geopolitical catastrophe drove China to open its economy, while GPNs enabled China to generate substantial export surpluses which could be recycled through state-owned banks as cheap credit and subsidies to large, vertically integrated and politically-controlled state-owned enterprises. In this way, a synergy emerged between the ‘neoliberal’ and ‘Keynesian-Fordist’ sectors of the economy, while the national-territorial state retained its form and expanded its functions. The book chronicles how this reliance on export surpluses, however, rendered China extremely vulnerable to external shocks — prompting a dramatic monetary and fiscal stimulus response to the crisis of 2008, even while sustaining the illusion of economic ‘decoupling’ from the global economy. Finally, it examines the growing role of the state in the current crisis-ridden economic model, as well as China’s current geoeconomic and geopolitical expansionism in areas such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the militarisation of the East and South China Seas.

About the authors

Steven Rolf is ESRC Research Fellow at the Digital Futures at Work Research Centre, based at the University of Sussex, UK. He has previously worked at the University of Bristol, Aston University, and Birkbeck, University of London. He has also held visiting positions at City University Hong Kong and UCLA, USA. 

Reviews

“China's geopolitical and economic ‘catch up’ is usually discussed in terms of a new global ‘power’ challenging an established world order or of types of capitalism—Anglo-American vs. state-capitalist, and so on—rather than in terms of the intersection between global and national capitalisms, on the one hand, and different types of polity, on the other. In a powerful synthesis of original theoretical discussion and up-to-date detailed empirical analysis, Steve Rolf shows how much can be gained from reframing China's startling economic trajectory of the past thirty years by highlighting dynamic processes of uneven and combined development, rather than those of static comparative models that ignore necessary within-country as well as country-by-country differences in how economic growth takes place.”

John Agnew, Distinguished Professor of Geography, UCLA, USA

“Through the lens of the Marxian theory of uneven and combined development, Rolf meticulously weaves together a coherent account of China’s rise from the initiation of market reform to the Belt and Road Initiative and the trade war with the US. It sheds new lights on the many contradictions within China and in the global geopolitical economy that the China boom brings.”

Ho-fung Hung, Henry M. & Elizabeth P. Wisenfeld Professor in Political Economy, The John Hopkins University, USA

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $54.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-55559-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase and usable on all devices
  • Bulk discounts available
Hardcover $69.99
price for USA in USD
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
China’s Uneven and Combined Development
Authors
Series Title
Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy
Copyright
2021
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-55559-7
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-55559-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-55558-0
Series ISSN
2524-7441
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVII, 264
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations, 12 illustrations in colour
Topics