Government as a Public Organ
As China enters the stage of economic and social reform, some people think that the introduction of markets will somehow weaken or reduce the power of government over society. Popular indeed is the view that the market equals "anarchism" (>i>wuzhengfu>/i>). Establishing the market mechanism does require government controls to be limited and state authority to retreat from domains outside its legitimate regulatory functions, so as to improve its performance in the normal arenas of operation, namely, ensuring social order and mediating conflicts over property, and so forth. Contrast this with the extensive role the state played in the central planning system in which the government "became a capitalist owner" (>i>dang ziben suoyouzhe>/i>) "managing enterprises" (>i>guan qiye>/i>) and "supervising production" (>i>guan shengchan>/i>), all rolled up into one. But, at the same time, this almighty state machine was intimately involved in economic management, it patently failed to fulfill its more conventional role of ensuring the availability and ample supply of "public goods" (>i>gonggong wupin>/i>). State administrators stuck their noses into every aspect of economic decision makingâfrom heavy and light industry to servicesâbut when it came to provisioning public amenities, such as good roads, schools, and sewage systems, these same administrators were nowhere to be found.
Volume (Year): 32 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
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