© 2019

Enterprise, Organization, and Technology in China

A Socialist Experiment, 1950−1971


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Philip Scranton
    Pages 1-16
  3. Business Practices from Liberation Through the Great Stumble, 1950–1961

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Philip Scranton
      Pages 19-48
    3. Philip Scranton
      Pages 49-80
    4. Philip Scranton
      Pages 81-111
  4. Recovery, Reversal, Resilience: Business Practices, 1962–1971

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 157-159
    2. Philip Scranton
      Pages 161-197
    3. Philip Scranton
      Pages 199-230
    4. Philip Scranton
      Pages 231-259
    5. Philip Scranton
      Pages 261-325
    6. Philip Scranton
      Pages 327-373
    7. Philip Scranton
      Pages 375-380
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 381-395

About this book


Given the near-silence in technological and business history about post-World War II socialist enterprises, this book gives voice to a generation of Communist China’s managers, entrepreneurs, cadres, and workers from the Liberation to the early 1970s. Using recently-opened online archival resources, it details and assesses the course of technical and organizational experimentation at state-owned, cooperative, and private enterprises as the PRC strove to construct a socialist economy through trial-and-error initiatives. Core questions treated are: How did Chinese enterprises operate, evolve, experiment, improvise and adjust during the PRC’s first generation? What technological initiatives were crucial to these processes, necessarily developed with limited expertise and thin financial resources? How could constructing “socialism with Chinese characteristics” have helped lay foundations for the post-1980 “Chinese miracle,” as the PRC confidently entered the 21st century while Soviet and Central European socialisms crumbled? And what might current-day Western managers and entrepreneurs learn from Chinese practice and performance a half-century ago? 

Readers can anticipate a granular, bottom-up analysis of how businesses worked day-to-day in a planned economy, how enterprise practices and technological strategies shifted during the first postwar generation, how managers and technicians emerged after the capitalist exodus, how organizations experimented and adapted, and how the controversies and convulsions of the PRC’s early decades fashioned durable technical and organizational capabilities. 


economic development management in China technology in China Communist China innovation Maoist China

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryRutgers UniversityCamdenUSA

About the authors

Philip Scranton is Board of Governors Professor Emeritus, History of Industry and Technology, at Rutgers University. His publications include eighteen books and over eighty scholarly articles.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Chemical Manufacturing
Consumer Packaged Goods
Materials & Steel
Finance, Business & Banking