Rent-Seeking Developmental State in China and Taiwan’s Businessmen2019-05-27

Rent-Seeking Developmental State in China: Exploring the Role of Taiwan’s Businessmen in Global Capitalism
Will China escape the middle-income trap? Why are Western nations alarmed by the “China Threat”? What new challenges confront existing theories after China decided to re-embrace capitalist values? Wu Jieh-min’s monograph, Rent-Seeking Developmental State in China: Taishang, Guangdong Model and Global Capitalism, presents a comprehensive explanation of the connections between China and global capitalism. According to the book, it was Taiwanese businessmen that, as intermediaries, helped the Chinese earn their first pot of gold in Guangdong province and indirectly spurred the rise of China.
The author, Wu Jieh-min, is an associate research fellow in the Institute of Sociology at Taiwan’s Academia Sinica. His research interests include political economics, political sociology, democratization, and China’s political and economic development. Most of his works focus on Taiwan’s democracy, China’s development, and Hong Kong’s civic movement. Wu has spent many years visiting China, conducting fieldwork studies in the Guangdong Export Processing Zone (EPZ). By exploring the shifting relationship between workers, Taiwanese businessmen, and the local and central government, he has identified and studied the factors that contributed to Guangdong’s economic success as well as the potential challenges that lie ahead.
In his book, Wu adopts a global value chain approach to explain how the “rent seeking developmental state” has played a crucial role in the process of economic development and value capture. This explanation includes the intricate relationship between government and business in China and links the global level to the local, the macro perspective to the micro. Wu deployed such concepts as “institutional rent-seeking,” “locally embedded governance,” and “differential citizenship” to help his readers comprehend the developmental logic of China’s economy.