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Automobile Industry

(3,175 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
1. General Conditions Since establishing contact with Daimler-Benz in 1935, the development of the production of automobiles in China has been characterized equally by intensive international cooperation and by considerable difficulties in creating a self-supporting industry. While the system of planned economy was responsible for these difficulties in the PRC after 1949, Taiwanese attempts soon reached the limits that came with an import-substituting strategy applied to a domestic market of too sm…

Business Ethics

(1,396 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
In the description of ethical ideas in business, there is often only insufficient differentiation between the classical political religion of China, i.e. Confucianism, on the one hand, and popular religion as a source of ethical ideals on the other hand. But beyond that, it is necessary to distinguish between business ethics in the realm of social order and the pragmatic attitudes towards economic activity, for example within enterprises. These conceptual differentiations are indispensable for r…

Chemical Industry

(2,023 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
1. Historical and Structural Conditions Even though chemistry has a long-standing history in China, its modern development only set in after the reforms of 1978. If we define chemical industry as the utilization of scientific knowledge concerning the molecular transformation of substances, then this late development is explained primarily by the low relevance that the demand side had for the industrial dynamics of the Maoist planned economy. The modern chemical industry's diversity of products and me…

Domestic Trade

(3,307 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
1. Trade and Socio-Economic Structures The organization and institutions of China's domestic trade are of wide-reaching economic and socio-structural relevance. Two classical theoretical approaches with which the endogenous development of the Chinese civilization is explained are based on its analysis: 1. The hypothesis of "commercialism" (Mark Elvin and others) implies that the developmentally high level of market organization in China was an essential reason for the failure to realize an endogenous…

Economic Integration

(1,932 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
A region is economically integrated when the "law of one price" applies within it: i.e. only when there is a price correlation between regional commodity markets through trade ("shallow integration"), which can be deepened by the integration of factor markets (migration, direct investment, etc.) ("deep integration"). In the latter case, market transactions are enlarged by an intra-regional organizational intertwining of enterprises. It is particularly political boundaries within a region that ha…

Economic System

(2,408 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
1. Guiding Principles of Regulatory Thinking Questions about the political regulation of the economy have played a significant role in the Chinese state administration since its earliest times, as is shown by the example of the Han-era discourse on state monopolies ( Yan tie lun). Since the 19th century the imperative of catching up with industrialization became authoritative for the design of economic systems in the Chinese cultural sphere. Owing to the latter's political division and to colonial rule in Hong Kong, very different economi…

Family Enterprises

(1,772 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
Owing to the economic rise of the Chinese cultural sphere, Chinese entrepreneurship is also increasingly receiving attention. Considering the high insecurities and rapid changes in certain branches and markets as well as the lacking stability of the political framework, Chinese family enterprises and the networks between them are being viewed today as efficient organizations. This re-evaluation of "traditional" family enterprises is taking place against the backdrop of widespread critique concer…

High-tech Industry

(2,844 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
1. General Trends Although associated in everyday usage with specific sectors of the economy, such as IT, "high-tech industry" is also more generally used to denote those branches of production which spend a significant amount of their output or turn-over on Research and Development (R&D), or which employ a significant number of R&D specialists. Defined in this way, one can even speak of "high-tech farming," and in fact Chinese high-tech industry regularly straddles conventional categories. This is…

Monetary System

(3,023 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
The monetary system of an economy is the institutional framework for the provision of a commonly accepted means of payment and value retention, and can thus be separated into an accounting system and a value-safeguarding system. The utilization of money takes place within an original monetary community which is fixed to this system either through enacted law or as a result of historical evolution. This applies in particular to the determination of the irredeemable, definitive money ("external mo…


(1,179 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
In the social sciences, "network" denotes a subset of all directed social interactions between a set of persons. It can be represented, for instance, by means of graphs. In empirical research, the causes for the selectivity and directedness of the interactions are investigated. The concept has been increasingly used for a number of years, in order to clarify the role of informal factors and of personal trust in the structuring of societies. It is therefore closely related to concepts such as "so…


(2,604 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
1. Institutional and Philosophical Aspects "Property" is a complex of different rights to action or order, which is constituted by and regulated through formal as well as informal institutions. Official legislation can, in principle, deliberately design formal institutions, while informal institutions like traditional values change only slowly and reflect the change in social structures. In the Chinese case informal institutions deserve special attention because well into the 20th century there was n…

Social Structure

(3,218 words)

Author(s): Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
1. Methodological Questions An analysis of the Chinese social structure is complicated by the fact that on the one hand profound breaks have been taken place over the course of historical development, yet on the other hand there are pronounced continuities which survived even these radical changes. In order to manage this problem, the social structure must be analyzed in light of both macro and micro aspects. Macrostructures describe the institutionalized relationships between clearly demarcated so…