1st Edition

The Land Question in China Agrarian Capitalism, Industrious Revolution, and East Asian Development

By Shaohua Zhan Copyright 2019
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book interrogates the inevitability and practicability of full-scale, land-intensive capitalist agriculture in China, whilst analyzing the labor-intensive industrious revolution as an alternative rural development path. It presents a critical account of the recent rise of agrarian capitalism as a force that would undermine hundreds of millions of people's livelihoods in the populous country.

    The Land Question in China traces the roots of the industrious revolution in China back to the eighteenth century, drawing comparisons between contemporary rural development and economic prosperity in the mid-Qing dynasty. In the context of neoliberal restructuring, it argues that vigorous rural development with broad access to land offers a solution to mitigate precarious urban employment and population pressure, while the transfer of land from villagers to large producers and urban investors will exacerbate these problems. Comparisons with South Africa and the East Asian economies of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan further illustrate this and help to develop a new interpretation of the industrious revolution and its contemporary relevance.

    Providing a critical examination of the "new land reform" in China from a world historical perspective, this book will be useful to students and scholars of sociology, economics, and development, as well as Chinese Studies.

    Introduction 1. Land, Ming-Qing Transition, and the First Industrious Revolution 2. Socialism, Market Reform, and Long Road to the Second Industrious Revolution 3. Urban Bias and Rural Crisis: the Land Question beyond the Countryside 4. Rise of Agrarian Capitalism and Future of the Industrious Revolution 5. South Africa in Comparison: Dispossession, Agrarian Capitalism, and Struggles for Land 6. Land, Welfare, and the East Asian Development Path Revisited Conclusion


    Shaohua Zhan is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests include Chinese political economy, land politics, food security, and migration.