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Diverging trajectories : economic rebalancing and labor policies in China

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Title: Diverging trajectories : economic rebalancing and labor policies in China
Authors: Luthje, Boy
LC Subject Headings: Labor policy - China
Industrial relations - China
China - Economic conditions - 2000-
Capitalism - China
East-West Center
Issue Date: Apr 2012
Publisher: Honolulu, HI : East-West Center
Series/Report no.: East-West Center working papers. Politics, governance, and security series ; no. 23
Abstract: The transformation of work and labor policies is one of the most underresearched aspects of China's political economy in recent decades. Western perceptions of Chinese workplaces are mostly informed by images of privatization and downsizing of traditional state-socialist enterprises, or by the unfamous sweatshops serving the production networks of global brandname companies under miserable conditions. However, recent research reveals that labor politics in China have become highly diversified, in spite of the apparently centralized character of the political regime. At the same time, labor conflicts are on the rise across industries and regions. Before this background, the paper is attempting a new approach to analyze labor relations at the level of companies, industries and regions in China. The analysis is referring to Western and Chinese labor sociology and industrial relations theory, applying the concept of "regimes of production" to the context of China's emerging capitalism. The focus is on China's modern core manufacturing industries, i.e. steel, chemical, auto, electronics and textile and garment. The research explores regimes of production in major corporations and new forms of labor-management cooperation, the growing inequality and fragmentation of labor policies within the modern sectors of the Chinese economy, consequences for further reform regarding labor standards, collective bargaining, and workers' participation. The paper presents results from a research project on socio-economic transformation and industrial relations in China, carried out by the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research in cooperation with leading academic institutions in the field in China and support from Hans-Böckler Foundation.
Description: For more about the East-West Center, see http://www.eastwestcenter.org/ . Previous versions of this paper have been presented at the annual conferences of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in Honolulu, March 31, 2011, and the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) in Madrid, June 28, 2011.
Pages/Duration: 36 p.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/30984
Appears in Collections:Politics, Governance, And Security [Working Papers]



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