On the shifting spatial logics of socioeconomic regulation in post-1949 China
Lim, Kean Fan
- Publisher: Taylor & Francis
This paper argues that new rounds of socioeconomic reforms in post-1949 China, each with their distinct geographical expressions, constitute a complex palimpsest rather than a straightforward process of historical succession. Drawing on a review of extensive empirical evidence, the paper complicates two dichotomous portrayals of socioeconomic ‘transition’ in China, namely centralization and egalitarianism (the Mao era) and decentralization and uneven development (the post- Mao era). It demonstrates these binaries cannot adequately explain the post-Mao economic 'miracle' when decentralized governance and uneven development also characterized the Mao era. The paper concludes that decentralized governance and uneven development are not antithetical to the quest for perpetual CPC rule; just as the Mao administration strategically blended centralizing mechanisms with instituted uneven development to consolidate its power, the post-Mao regimes are repurposing Mao-era regulatory techniques to achieve the same objective.