Refurbishing State Capitalism: A Policy Analysis of Efforts to Rebalance China’s Political Economy

Christopher A. McNally


This article provides an analysis of policy initiatives aimed at rebalancing China’s political economy, especially those contained in the 12th Five Year Plan and other recent pronouncements. The objective is to generate a conceptual examination of these policy measures, thereby highlighting their basic intent and purpose. The analysis shows that the Chinese leadership intends to pursue policies that can centralize, standardize and regulate the political economy under continued state guidance. Due to the considerable political obstacles that Chinese policy-makers face in rebalancing the political economy, a more state-centric approach is seen as necessary. China is therefore pursuing a policy package of refurbishing state capitalism. While a degree of liberalization is likely to be undertaken, the major thrust is one of revamping, restructuring and, ultimately, strengthening state control and guidance over the political economy.

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