The Chinese Underclass and Organized Crime as a Stepladder of Social Ascent

  • Ming Xia


Barrington Moore Jr. declares, “No middle class, no democracy.” This statement can be supported from two perspectives. First, the middle class has instrumental value for democracy. As the organizer of wealth production, the middle class must tame the professionals of violence management, namely, the state and its functionaries, in order to safeguard the distribution of wealth and to serve the need of wealth expansion (Bates, 2001). Second, the middle class has constitutive value for democracy. It forms the backbone of a civil society and sustains the functioning and maintenance of a democracy. Once it puts on a “golden straitjacket” (the “defining politico-economic garment” being today’s liberal democracy), a state has to behave within certain parameters. Free people are guaranteed what is known in academic circles as the “Wilsonian Triad”: the opportunity to empower themselves through democracy, enrich themselves through free market capitalism, and ensure themselves through civil society (Mandelbaum, 2002; Friedman, 2000).


Organize Crime Migrant Worker Migrant Laborer Chinese Communist Party Drug Trafficking 
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© Siu-Keung Cheung, Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, and Lida V. Nedilsky 2009

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  • Ming Xia

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