In This Review

China in the World Market: Chinese Industry and International Sources of Reform in the Post-Mao Era
China in the World Market: Chinese Industry and International Sources of Reform in the Post-Mao Era
By Thomas G. Moore
Cambridge University Press, 2002, 344 pp
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Despite its broad title, this book is mostly devoted to two Chinese industries during the 1980s and 1990s: textiles and shipbuilding. The author thereby provides an informative window on China's economic reforms, viewed through detailed analysis of two highly successful sectors. Both were strongly influenced by developments outside China, notably the 1975 Multifiber Agreement (revised in 1994) and the 1980s slump in world demand for shipping. China's approach was to upgrade products, importing foreign technology (and fashion) as needed, rather than selling low-end products exclusively on the basis of price. The author concludes that China will have difficulty following the "Asian model" of state-guided industrial growth, given its heavy and particularistic concern for firms in trouble -- a tendency to support losers rather than winners. Success is more likely to be achieved by devolving decision-making to industrial firms with financial discipline, where the incentives for success are keenest.