First Year Seminar on the Economy of China
Economics 100 Fall 2006 Monday & Wednesday 1:15-2:30 PM in Skinner 102

Course Description
Dr. Satya J. Gabriel
Professor of Economics
Course Calendar   e-mail:
Course Objectives
FAX: 413-538-2323
Course Forum
Office Hours:  Monday and Wednesday from 3-5
Debates and Speeches


Course Description:

This is a first year seminar course on the economy of the People's Republic of China.  As with all first year seminars, this one is designed to give students an opportunity to participate in an intense study and discussion environment.  As a "speaking intensive" course, this seminar will focus even more than usual on developing the ability of students to engage in debate and argumentation. 

In order to understand the political economy of China, it is necessary to understand the complexity of Marxian theories. Thus, the course will begin with a discussion of three variant forms of Marxian theory, two of which have played a particularly important role in the political economy of China, and, more specifically, in the struggles over public policy within the Communist Party of China (CPC).  This understanding of the internecine struggles over Marxian theory within the CPC will form the basis for our analysis of public policy shifts that would ultimately lead to the current period.  In our analysis of the current period, we will make further use of this understanding of Marxian theory to critique the notion of "socialism with Chinese characteristics," which serves as the rationale for "the vanguard role" of the CPC (and related one-party rule).

Text:  Gabriel, Chinese Capitalism and the Modernist Vision is available through the Odyssey Book Shop.  (Please note that this text has sold out in its first print run and the second print run will not occur until November 2006, so there are a limited number of copies available to Odyssey.) We will also make use of online essays. 

Course calendar
Sept. 8 Course introduction, assignments, & clarifications
Why Theory Matters?
Sept. 11-20 Read Chapter 1 of Chinese Capitalism and the Modernist Vision and "Capitalism, Socialism, and the 1949 Chinese Revolution: What Was the Cold War All About?," Essay No. 1 of China Essay Series
Great Debate Part I: Modernist Marxism versus Maoist Marxism
Oct. 2-11 Two teams will debate on each of these days. The debate questions will be posted to this website one week prior to the scheduled debates.
Social Contract and the Rural-Urban Divide
Read chapter 2 of Chinese Capitalism and the Modernist Vision
Additional Readings TBA
Working for Capitalism
Oct. 11-18 Read chapter 3 of Chinese Capitalism and the Modernist Vision "Real Tigers and Paper Tigers: Feudalism, Self-employment, and the 1949 Chinese Revolution," Essay No. 2, China Essay Series (online).
Great Debate Part II: What Class Process is Appropriate for China's Development?
Economic Dynamism in Rural China: The TVEs and Rural Capitalism
Oct. 23-Nov. 1 Read Chapter 4 of the text and other readings will be either posted on the course page or emailed to you.
Role Play Part I: Wal-Mart Enters Negotiations with Township Officials
Economic Transition in Urban China: The Corporatization of State Run Enterprises
Nov. 8-Nov. 23 Read Chapter 5 of the text and other readings will be either posted on the course page or emailed to you.
Role Play Part II: Liaoning Steel Goes Public
The New Economic Super Power: Rise of China and Globalization
Nov. 29-Last Class Read Chapter 8 of the text.
Great Debate Part III: China will Become the Dominant Super Power in Our Lifetime

Click Here to Submit Evaluation of Student Presentation


Learning Objectives:

This is a seminar course in which each student is expected to actively participate. The primary objective is to enhance the student's ability to understand and critique the variant forms of political economic theories that have shaped post-revolutionary Chinese society and to be able to describe and, to an extent, analyze the political, cultural, economic, and environmental processes shaping the contemporary Chinese social formation.

Research (Term) Papers:

Each student is responsible for active participation in debates, as a member of a debate team, and in the formulation of speeches related to the theoretical and empirical subject matter of this course.

Library of Congress Country Studies: China

Return to Top of Page

Copyright © 2006, Satya Gabriel, Economics Department, Mount Holyoke College