Dr Weber will give lecture based on her book, 'How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate (2021). Andrew Fischer will act as discussant for the event.
China has become deeply integrated into the world economy. Yet, gradual marketization has facilitated the country’s rise without leading to its whole- sale assimilation to global neoliberalism. This book uncovers the fierce contest about economic reforms that shaped China’s path. In the first post-Mao decade, China’s reformers were sharply divided. They agreed that China had to reform its economic system and move toward more marketization—but struggled over how to go about it. Should China destroy the core of the socialist system through shock therapy, or should it use the institutions of the planned economy as market creators? With hindsight, the historical record proves the high stakes behind the question: China embarked on an economic expansion commonly described as unprecedented in scope and pace, whereas Russia’s economy col- lapsed under shock therapy. Based on extensive research, including interviews with key Chinese and international participants and World Bank officials as well as insights gleaned from unpublished documents, the book charts the debate that ultimately enabled China to follow a path to gradual reindustrialization. Beyond shedding light on the crossroads of the 1980s, it reveals the intellectual founda- tions of state-market relations in reform-era China through a longue durée lens. Overall, the book delivers an original perspective on China’s economic model and its continuing contestations from within and from without.
Isabella Weber is an Assistant Professor of Economics and the Research Leader for China at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her first book How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate is the winner of the Joan Robinson Prize 2021 and has been recommended by the Financial Times and Foreign Policy among others. For her work on the rise of economics in China’s recent history she has won the International Convention of Asia Scholars’ Ground-breaking Subject Matter Accolade and the Warren Samuels Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in History of Economic Thought and Methodology. Previously she was a Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, and has been the principal investigator of the ESRC-funded Rebuilding Macroeconomics project What Drives Specialization? A Century of Global Export Patterns. Isabella holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research, New York, and a Ph.D. in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge and was a visiting researcher at Tsinghua University. German born, she studied at the Free University of Berlin and Peking University for her B.A. www.isabellaweber.com
Andrew M. Fischer is Professor of Inequality, Social Protection and Development at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, part of Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is also the Scientific Director of CERES, The Dutch Research School for International Development; co-editor of the journal Development and Change; and founding editor of the Oxford University Press book series Critical Frontiers of International Development Studies. His latest book, Poverty as Ideology (Zed, 2018), was awarded the International Studies in Poverty Prize by the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) and Zed Books and, as part of the award, is fully open access. Fischer works extensively on poverty, inequality, social policy, all in relation to international development. He earned his Ph.D. in Development Studies from LSE for his research on China’s regional development strategies in western China and their impact on ethnic minorities, principally Tibetans, but also Uyghurs and other minorities. He has written two books on this topic, the second being The Disempowered Development of Tibet in China: A Study in the Economics of Marginalization (Lexington Books, 2014), as well as articles in leading journals such as Population and Development Review and China Quarterly. More generally, Fischer has been involved in the field of international development for over 30 years. Prior to his Ph.D., he spent seven years living with refugees in India, and he lived in Western China for two years during and after his Ph.D. Parallel to his ongoing research on western China, he won a prestigious European Research Council grant for work on the political economy of externally financing social policy in developing countries (Aiding Social Protection), which he led from 2015 to 2021.
James Putzel is Professor of Development Studies and served as the Director of the Crisis States Research Centre. He headed the Centre's research programme on Crisis States, which was funded by the Department for International Development of the UK government.
This talk is part of the Cutting Edge Issues in Development Thinking & Practice, 2021/22, series, a high-profile lecture series run by the Department of International Development at LSE and organised by Professor James Putzel and Professor in Practice Duncan Green.
The Department of International Development promotes interdisciplinary postgraduate teaching and research on processes of social, political and economic development and change.
Twitter Hashtag for this series: #CuttingEdge2021
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