Author Q&A with Steven Rosefielde and Jonathan Leightner

We are pleased to share our Q&A with Steven Rosefielde and Jonathan Leightner, Authors of China’s Market Communism: Challenges, Dilemmas, Solutions.

China’s Market Communism guides readers step by step up the ladder of China’s reforms and transformational possibilities to a full understanding of Beijing’s communist and post-communist options by investigating the lessons that Xi can learn from Mao, Adam Smith and inclusive economic theory. The book sharply distinguishes what can be immediately accomplished from the road that must be traversed to better futures.


'As one more insightful book from Professor Rosefielde, China’s Market Communism provides not merely a retrospect of the transformation that has taken place in the economic system of the post- 1949 China; by highlighting explicitly the disparities between each model, it also argues in a comprehensive way their implications. Indeed, Chinese leaders including Xi Jinping all have their ideals to pursue, and quite naturally, they have both developed a roadmap which they think is the best for the country. Nevertheless, no matter how justified their choices are, only time is the unmistakable proof. Understanding the finiteness of human beings, this book does not intend to point out the "best alternative" for China; instead, it displays several important perspectives for readers to contemplate, which I believe can help trigger more fresh and in-depth thinking over China’s economy in the future.' — Chenyi Yu, Lecturer, Zhejiang Wanli University of Ningbo, China

(Steve) I hold a Harvard PhD in economics (1972), specializing in the Soviet Union, Russia, and comparative economic systems. I was trained in input-output theory by Wassily Leontief and general competitive theory by Abram Bergson and Gottfried von Haberler. Abram Bergson, Simon Kuznets, Evsei Domar and Alexander Gerschenkron schooled me on the inner working of the Soviet economy, with spillovers for Mao's planned economy. China was part of Harvard's comparative system curriculum. I studied China with Dwight Perkins. I began focusing on China in 1990 after visiting the country in 1990, and continued doing so thereafter, teaching at Xiamen and Nanjing Universities, and collaborating with the People's Liberation Army Academy of Sciences. China has been central to my comparative systems courses since 1990.

Jonathan E.Leightner earned a BA and MA degree from Baylor University in Philosophy during which he took as many Asian Philosophy and Religion courses as possible. He specialized in Economic Development and Comparative Economic Systems while earning his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Between his Masters and Ph.D., he lived with a Chinese family in Thailand for a year, and after his Ph.D. he taught for two years at the Johns Hopkins – Nanjing University Center for American and Chinese Studies in Nanjing, China. He is the author of Ethics, Efficiency, and Macroeconomics in China. In that book, he argues that all of China’s leaders from Mao to Xi have emphasized either microeconomic efficiency or macroeconomic performance while sacrificing ethics. However, to successfully shift to a consumption driven growth model, as now proposed, China’s leaders must focus on ethics. The Chinese will save and not consume as long as they do not trust their government or economy. Trust is built on ethics.


Most courses on the Chinese economy stress political economy (Marxist/communist development strategy) or China's place in the globalization process. These approaches are valuable, but pay scant attention to the unique features of China's market communism. Neither school delves into the economic potential of Xi Jinping's market system with Chinese communist characteristics to ascertain its comparative merit.

China's Market Communism provides a useful supplement to university courses stressing either the political economic, or the globalization approach by helping students appreciate why China is really special, and what this implies for the new emerging global order.


I hope readers will come to appreciate that China's economic system is a bold attempt to build a better third way to modern economy; better than pure communism and various capitalist alternatives. The system has many flaws, and lacks a lucid compass, but with the proper insight can navigate toward a superior outcome.


The evolution of China's economy goes hand in hand with its reemergence as a global power. Readers should keep an eye on the interplay.

Featured Book

  • China’s Market Communism

    Challenges, Dilemmas, Solutions, 1st Edition

    By Steven Rosefielde, Jonathan Leightner

    China’s Market Communism guides readers step by step up the ladder of China’s reforms and transformational possibilities to a full understanding of Beijing’s communist and post-communist options by investigating the lessons that Xi can learn from Mao, Adam Smith and inclusive economic theory. The…

    Paperback – 2017-09-19
    Routledge

Steven Rosefielde


Steven Rosefielde
is Professor of Economics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

Jonathan Leightner


Jonathan Leightner
teaches at Augusta University in the United States and Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

Stay Connected

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our mailing list

Lecturers who are teaching a relevant course are welcome to request a complimentary e-exam copy.