Contemporary Chinese Political Economy in Historical Perspective
R. Bin Wong, Professor, Department of History and Director, UCLA Asia Institute, University of California at Los Angeles
R. Bin Wong is Director of the UCLA Asia Institute and Professor of History. Wong’s research has examined Chinese patterns of political, economic and social change, especially since eighteenth century, both within Asian regional contexts and compared with more familiar European patterns. Among his books, China Transformed: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience (Cornell University Press, 1997) also appears in Chinese as 转变的中国 （江苏人民出版社, 1998. Wong has also written or co-authored some sixty articles published in North America, East Asia and Europe, published in Chinese, English, French and Japanese in journals that reach diverse audiences within and beyond academia.
This presentation will lay out three different historical perspectives on China’s post-1978 economic reform era. It argues that historical perspectives allow us to apprehend features of the Chinese economy as they are formed in particular moments and contexts at the same time as we can appreciate the ways in which the possibilities conceived and achieved both affirm certain past practices and reject others. Without such vantage points it is more difficult to explain the manner in which China’s economy has changed in the past thirty years.
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