Font Size: a A A

Local Government: The Agent Of Reform And Transformation

Posted on:2005-09-20Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:Y W TangFull Text:PDF
GTID:1116360125467449Subject:Political Theory
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
China's reform since 1978 has captured worldwide attention in its transitions of society, economy and politics. While the miracle of economic development is widely recognized and appreciated, now it is time to revisit the logic of these two decades' comprehensive reforms from a broader political and historical perspective. The Chinese politics cannot be fully understood in itself without a historical review on the dynamics of reform policy. Arguably, China's incremental reforming process has been dominated with two obviously different political logics with different strategies and visions in the 1980s and 1990s respectively. Acknowledging the significance of understanding the first stage of reform as laying a foundation for further development, the aim of this study, therefore, is to examine the politics of reforms during the 1980s. With a special focus on the fiscal contract reform between the central and local governments, this study seeks to explain the role of local government under the fiscal reform, and to explore the political impacts of this reform. More specifically, it is guided with two questions: (1) how the decentralization reform mobilizes and accumulates resource assumed to be a precondition for the transformation? (2) What are the mechanisms and political implications of this reform?To begin with, this study is grounded on two theoretical assumptions on Chinese politics, respectively that maintaining social integration and stability as the basic nature and value orientation, and attributing the legitimacy of politics to the people and for the people. Empirically, this study starts with an understanding of political reality before reform: for one, the Great Cultural Revolution has almost paralyzed the Chinese politics by bringing it into a crisis status; for another, however, the political space in terms of central and local relationship was intensely integrated and highly organized. To address and evaluate the reform in 1980s, this study thus assumes that governmental capacity to achieve overall effectiveness in resource mobilization is fundamental to the transformation of a crisis society in order to avoid the breaking of social revolution. Furthermore, it is argued that centralization and decentralization to accumulate and mobilize resources for the central government are the basic means to this end. While centralization in a crisis society usually result either military control or war, decentralization in a crisis society to accumulate resources depends heavily on the multi-empowerment between local government and central government, which makes the decentralization reform limited and under controlled. The dissertation is divided into five parts. The first chapter presents the origin and trajectory of fiscal contract reform in the 1980s to provide a historical setting of this study. It is found that this reform is embedded in the socialist planned political space arrangement. While the political separation of economic management power between the central and local actually lays institutional foundation for the reform, the aspiration of resource mobilization provides the economic incentive of fiscal reform along the central-local relationships. Resource mobilization is the rationale of fiscal contract reform, which attempts to explore local government's role as the "engine" and "reservoir" for the reform. Historically, the central government launched the decentralization reform in 1985 in response to a decrease of central financial share. The fiscal contract reform in this context, therefore, is essentially a decentralization process from which local government earned greater power and autonomy.Chapter Two analyzes how the local government functions as the reform engine. A historical review reveals that the fiscal reform has provided the incentive of local government in resource mobilizing and to achieve the national governing capacity. The fiscal contract reform, therefore, constitutes the breakthrough of the "second revolution" in China. The extent to which local go...
Keywords/Search Tags:Transformation
PDF Full Text Request
Related items