• Meg Rithmire


2020, Paper: "The “state capitalism” model, in which the state retains a dominant role as owner or investor-shareholder amidst the presence of markets and private firms, has received increasing attention, with China cited as the main exemplar. Yet as models evolve, so has China’s “state capitalism.” We argue that a resurgent party-state, motivated by a logic of political survival, has generated political-economic dynamics that better resemble “party-state capitalism” than familiar conceptualizations of state capitalism. We demonstrate this by examining three prominent manifestations of China’s unique model: party-state encroachment on markets; a blending of functions and interests of state and private ownership; and politicized interactions with foreign capital. Nevertheless, there remain deficits in the party-state’s hold over capital, some of which themselves result from Beijing’s logic of control. By probing the comparative and historical context of this evolution of China’s model, we suggest directions for further inquiry on the consequences of party-state capitalism."

Non-HKS Harvard Author Website - Meg Rithmire