A Survey of the Chinese Economy

Economics 100
Fall 1998
Monday & Wednesday 10:50-12:00
Skinner 301

Satya J. Gabriel
Associate Professor of Economics
e-mail: sgabriel@mtholyoke.edu
FAX: 413-538-2512



This course provides an application of some of the basic tools of economic analysis to understanding the development of China's economy since the 1949 Revolution, with a review of the pre-1949 economic system. There will be an extensive survey of the oscillations of economic policy since the 1949 Revolution. Contemporary economic policies and problems will be addressed in greater depth than earlier policies and problems, particularly as they impact financial and industrial institutions. The course will examine the microeconomic implications of changes in property and use rights, control over enterprise profit distribution, and entitlements, and the macroeconomic implications of rising unemployment, exchange rate controls, and liberalization of financial markets. The claim of China's political leadership to be constructing "socialism with Chinese characteristics" will be critically examined. This is an introductory economics course. There are no prerequisites. Please note that a higher level version of this course Political Economy of China will be offered at Smith College.

Photograph on the right: Zhu Rongji, newly appointed premier of China.
Zhu is an economist with plans to dramatically downsize the Chinese
government bureaucracy and force the restructuring of state-owned firms.




Among the objectives of this course is to encourage students to think analytically, to recognize the components of constructing a theory (concepts, logic, coherence), and to develop their skill at producing effective analytical arguments (in writing and verbally) using carefully constructed theoretical arguments and the facts of China's economy. These skills are valuable in the academic endeavor, in general, and to the study of economics, in particular.

Analytical Writing Assignments:

The grade for this course depends on the quality of each student’s work on the written assignments that are defined below (80%) and classroom discussions (20%).

Each student will be responsible for writing eight short essays. An individual essay is valued at 10% of the final course grade.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of the thoughtfulness and depth of understanding of the theoretical material presented in class, in the textbook, and in essays available online. Every essay should have a clear thesis, which should be highlighted in the body of the paper or in a very brief abstract at the beginning of the essay. The thesis simply tells the reader and writer --- "Here's what I'm going to try to prove or disprove in this essay. The points I make in my sentences and paragraphs are designed to make this particular point."

Essays should be approximately three to five pages in length (at most about 1500 words), typed and double-spaced. They can run longer, if you wish, but this is not necessary.

Course calendar
Sept. 14

Course introduction.

Sept. 16

Case & Fair, "Chapter 2: The Economic Problem: Scarcity and Choice".

Resnick & Wolff, "Communism: Between Class & Classless" in Rethinking Marxism, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1988).

Gabriel, " Essay No. 1: Capitalism, Socialism, and the 1949 Chinese Revolution".

Sept. 21-23

Case & Fair, "Chapter 4: Demand, Supply, and Market Equilibrium".

Gabriel, " Essay No. 2: Real Tigers and Paper Tigers: Feudalism, Self-exploitation, and the 1949 Chinese Revolution ".

Sept. 28-30

Student Essay: Economic Factors Shaping the Communist Revolution in China is due this week.

Case & Fair, "Chapter 5: Demand, Supply, and the Price System".

Gabriel, "Essay No. 3: The Structure of a Post-Revolutionary Economic Transformation: The Chinese Economy from the 1949 Revolution to the Great Leap Forward".

Oct. 5-7 & 14

Case & Fair, " Chapter 6: Introduction to Macroeconomics".

Gabriel, "Essay No. 4: The Great Leap Forward".

Gabriel, "Essay No. 5: Pragmatism & the Aftermath of the Great Leap Forward ".

Oct. 19-21

Case & Fair, " Chapter 8: Unemployment, Inflation, and Growth".

Gabriel, "Essay No. 6: Income Inequality in China's Post-Great Leap Forward Era".

Oct. 26-28

Case & Fair, " Chapter 9: Aggregate Expenditure and Equilibrium Output".

Gabriel, "Essay No. 7: Economic Liberalization in Post-Mao China: Touching the Stones While Crossing the River".

Gabriel & Martin, " China: The Ancient Road to Communism".

Nov. 2-4

Case & Fair, " Chapter 10: The Government and Fiscal Policy".

Wong & Gabriel, "The Impact of Health Care Reforms on Urban Residents in Nanjing, China".

Nov. 9-11

Case & Fair, " Chapter 11: The Money Supply and the Federal Reserve System".

Gabriel, "Essay No. 8: Technological Determinism & Market Socialism: Socialism with Chinese Characteristics".

Nov. 16-18

Case & Fair, " Chapter 12: Money Demand, the Equilibrium Interest Rate, and Monetary Policy".

Gabriel, "Essay No. 9: Fiscal & Monetary Policy in China: Riding the Crisis Tiger".

Nov. 23 & 30

Student Essay: Why Has China Experienced Extraordinary GDP Growth Under the Post-1978 Reforms is due this week.

Case & Fair, " Chapter 13: Money, the Interest Rate, and Output: Analysis and Policy".

Gabriel, "Essay No. 10: Mao, Money, and Foreign Exchange".

Gabriel, "Essay No. 11: Is Banking Reform in China Still on Track?".

Dec. 2-7

Case & Fair, " Chapter 20: International Trade, Comparative Advantage, and Protectionism".

Gabriel, "Essay No. 12: Exploring the Alphabet Soup of Chinese Financial Markets".

Adrienne Moore's discussion of the relationship between China and Taiwan.

Dec. 14

Review Session & Summary Conclusions

Library of Congress -- China Country Study Page
CIA China Page


Copyright © 1998, Satya Gabriel, Economics Department, Mount Holyoke College.