BEIJING -- Urban legend tells of an American businessman who, visiting a factory in China's Guangdong Province, witnesses working conditions forbidden by Chinese law. When he inquires about them, the factory owner replies sharply, "Laws made in Beijing mean nothing in Guangdong."
Though apocryphal, the story reflects the localism and institutional inconsistency that are core aspects of the modern Chinese economy. Mao Zedong's attempts to bring centralization and uniformity to an economic system of continental proportions resulted in paralysis. In the reform era, previously suppressed network connections have regenerated quickly, resulting in increasing heterogeneity and even fragmentation within the economic system. From a geopolitical perspective, these accelerating trends make regional divergence and federalist sentiment a key framework for strategic analysis of the Chinese political economy moving forward. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $11.99 monthly or $94.99/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- With Reforms, China’s Xi Seeks Course Correction, not Power Grab
- Global Insights: Russia-Pakistan Defense Accord Signals Shifting Regional Alignments
- Diplomatic Fallout: Bold or Not, Next U.N. Secretary-General Faces World of Pain
- After U.S.-China Climate Deal, India Feels the Heat on Growing Emissions
- The Realist Prism: Even After Midterms, Obama Faces Hard Choices on Energy, Climate