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Insurgency TrapLabor Politics in Postsocialist China$
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Eli Friedman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452697

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452697.001.0001

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Chinese Labor Politics and the Global Economy

Chinese Labor Politics and the Global Economy

(p.161) 6 Chinese Labor Politics and the Global Economy
Insurgency Trap

Eli Friedman

Cornell University Press

This chapter asks: How does China differ from other East Asian countries that have been able to maintain similar levels of repression against independent union organizing during capitalist industrialization? What impact will labor politics in China have on the global political economy? And how might the dynamics of insurgency trap develop in the future? First of all, Chinese workers are much more rebellious than their counterparts in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, or postwar Japan. Additionally, the state in China appears to have both greater dedication and greater capacity to use repression against independent labor organizing. The spatial and social dynamics of capitalist development in China are also distinct from those of smaller countries. The chapter ends by stressing the importance of labor politics in China's economic “rebalancing,” drawing some conclusions about implications for the world system, and proposing some future paths of development.

Keywords:   China, repression, labor organization, labor unions, labor politics

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