- Guanxi Capitalism in China: the role of private enterprises and networks for economic development (2011)
- This dissertation sets out to analyze the socio-economic structures behind a variety of capitalism that relies heavily on traditional (and insofar out-dated) institutions, especially networks, for its success. The specifics and advantages of business networks for small firms are well established in the literature but it rarely refers to China. It is argued that although similarities exist, Chinese networks are different to their European counterparts and therefore play a more prominent role for the Chinese economic system than networks elsewhere do. Here, personal relations are not separated into a private and a business sphere or exchanged by contractual, and in Western thinking more rational, means of doing business. Personal relations expose comparative efficiency as they are chosen as the most capable instrument for the private sector in China which makes the system as successful as we can observe today. Therefore, this dissertation will scrutinize the specific socio-economic environment of private firms and their networks in China, thereby dissecting a new form of Capitalism that extrapolates traditional institutions for its economic success and survival instead of supplanting and overwriting traditional socio-economic structures. This challenges Weber’s distinction between rational and traditional behavior and redefines the boundaries of economy, society and culture in a new way.
- A different capitalism? : Guanxi-capitalism and the importance of family in modern China (2011)
- The emergence of Capitalism is said to always lead to extreme changes in the structure of a society. This view implies that Capitalism is a universal and unique concept that needs an explicit institutional framework and should not discriminate between a German or US Capitalism. In contrast, this work argues that the ‘ideal type’ of Capitalism in a Weberian sense does not exist. It will be demonstrated that Capitalism is not a concept that shapes a uniform institutional framework within every society, constructing a specific economic system. Rather, depending on the institutional environment - family structures in particular - different forms of Capitalism arise. To exemplify this, the networking (Guanxi) Capitalism of contemporary China will be presented, where social institutions known from the past were reinforced for successful development. It will be argued that especially the change, destruction and creation of family and kinship structures are key factors that determined the further development and success of the Chinese economy and the type of Capitalism arising there. In contrast to Weber, it will be argued that Capitalism not necessarily leads to a process of destruction of traditional structures and to large-scale enterprises under rational, bureaucratic management, without leaving space for socio-cultural structures like family businesses. The flexible global production increasingly favours small business production over larger corporations. Small Chinese family firms are able to respond to rapidly changing market conditions and motivate maximum efforts for modest pay. The structure of the Chinese family proved to be very persistent over time and to be able to accommodate diverse economic and political environments while maintaining its core identity. This implies that Chinese Capitalism may be an entirely new economic system, based on Guanxi and the family.