China's Economic Culture: The Ritual Order of State and Markets (Hardback) book cover

China's Economic Culture

The Ritual Order of State and Markets

By Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

© 2017 – Routledge

608 pages | 21 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415711272
pub: 2016-09-22
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Description

China's spectacular rise challenges established economic moulds, both at the national level, with the concept of "state capitalism", and at the firm level, with the notion of indigenous "Chinese management practices". However, both Chinese and Western observers emphasise the transitional nature of the reforms, thereby leaving open the question as to whether China's reform process is really a fast catch-up process, with ultimate convergence to global standards, or something different. This book, by a leading economist and sinologist, argues that "culture" is an exceptionally useful tool to help understand fully the current picture of the Chinese economy. Drawing on a range of disciplines including social psychology, cognitive sciences, institutional economics and Chinese studies, the book examines long-run path dependencies and cultural legacies, and shows how these contribute crucially to the current cultural construction of economic systems, business organisations and patterns of embedding the economy into society and politics.

Reviews

"This book is an outstanding piece of work that combines profound knowledge of China's economic history with methodological creativity to establish a new paradigm, China's ritual economy. Drawing on an impressive amount of sources and tackling brilliantly the complex relationship between cultural tradition and economic behaviour, Herrmann-Pillath may have come up with the ultimate explanation of what Chinese capitalism in modern times is all about. A must-read!"

Gunter Schubert, Professor of Greater China Studies, University of Tübingen, Germany.

"Rituals are fundamental institutions, but often ignored by people. Apart from researching on rituals as classics, most scholars know little about them. In this book, Professor Herrmann-Pillath gives us a key to understanding China’s business culture, which is to regard rituals or customs as the behavior patterns which still exist fundamentally and universally in modern society. To understand rituals or customs is more important than to understand written laws, if one would like successful commercial cooperation in China. Meanwhile, this analysis develops a new, correct research approach academically."

Sheng Hong, Unirule Institute of Economics, Beijing, China.

"This is a very thought provoking and important book. It takes a big step towards a more systematic understanding of Chinese economy and society by unfolding the bold hypotheses of understanding the process of modernization in China in terms of ritual. It is unusual by its interdisciplinary approach combining anthropology and philosophy with economics. It puts China’s present into the context of China’s past and thus transgresses the border between those who focus on modern China and those who strive to understand ancient China."

Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, Professor of Sinology, University of Vienna, Austria.

"This book is an outstanding piece of work that combines profound knowledge of China's economic history with methodological creativity to establish a new paradigm, China's ritual economy. Drawing on an impressive amount of sources and tackling brilliantly the complex relationship between cultural tradition and economic behaviour, Herrmann-Pillath may have come up with the ultimate explanation of what Chinese capitalism in modern times is all about. A must-read!"

Gunter Schubert, Professor of Greater China Studies, University of Tübingen, Germany.

"This work is an exemplary study in the tradition of Max Weber and Karl Polanyi yet going beyond these ‘Old Masters’ in its theoretical ambition and analytical scope. Carsten Herrmann-Pillath demonstrates beyond any doubt that no one can understand China’s economy (everything from family firms to state-owned enterprises to macroeconomic policies) without investigating the entire cultural-institutional package that comes with it. In China economic practices are not simply embedded in culture; they are the culture. The economist can do no worse than embracing theoretical insights from anthropology, sociology and cultural history, and as a result better grasp the style of any particular economic culture. This book provides the methodological roadmap for this kind of genuinely multi-disciplinary work. Highly recommended for students of China, economists as well as intellectually-oriented executives."

Adam Yuet Chau, University Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology of Modern China, University of Cambridge, UK.

"This is clearly an intriguing and even original approach in the field. Chapter 7, ‘Deciphering the Chinese Economic Style’, which can be highly recommended, as it very ably sums up the arguments in the book… it has much to say about how China has succeeded in its pursuit of economic modernization since 1978, which may well assist our understanding of this achievement. It also has an excellent bibliography and index and is very well-printed."

Malcolm Warner, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, Asia Pacific Business Review

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Culture, Ritual and Economic Style

2. The Chinese Ritual Economy as Historical Type

3. Institutions, Ideas and Ritual in the Modern Chinese Political Economy

4. Local State, Ritual and Territorial Competition

5. The Ritual Foundations of Markets

6. Chinese Enterprise, Organization, and Ritual

7. Conclusion – Deciphering the Chinese economic style

About the Author

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath is a Research Professor of Economics and Evolutionary Sciences, Witten/Herdecke University, Germany, a Fellow of the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt University, Germany, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, China.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Growth Economies of Asia

The aim of this series is to publish original, high-quality work by both new and established scholars on all aspects of the growth economies of Asia.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC008000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General