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The Great Economic Transformation: Social Dilemmas of Chinese Capitalism

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For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

AbstractThe transition from socialism to capitalism involves overcoming tremendous, and unavoidable, difficulties of growth and distribution, and controversial reforms. The case of China presents an important opportunity by inviting us to understand its distinctive experiences from comparative perspectives. While its market-oriented reforms have achieved remarkable growth records, the costs of privatization and liberalization have had to be absorbed by social policy, and redistributed among different social strata and specific units. This study focuses on the reconstruction of state-owned enterprises, the social security system, and industrial relations to show China’s unique path toward a market economy. As a Leninist government continues to enjoy ample room for policy manoeuvres and civil organizations are absent in social policy making, the Chinese case of “great transformation” apparently rests on an unstable ground.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Welfare, National Chung Cheng University Taiwan, Email:, URL:


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