Won Jaeyoun (Yonsei University; HYI Visiting Scholar 2011-12)
Abstract: The transformation of labour and unemployment in China raises a question of “What was socialism and what comes next.” This paper attempts to answer this question for China by looking at the unemployment policy changes before and after the reform. I employ Walder’s classic work, Communist Neo-Traditionalism, to discuss the nature of work and welfare prior to reform. I discuss three “caring” features of labour relations prior to the reform; 1) the state enterprise (Danwei) as a small welfare state; 2) organizational dependence between workers and their superiors; and 3) Maoist emphasis on political education. Then I attempt to address three new “daring” characteristics of unemployment practice in the process of dismantling the old socialist workfare, the Iron Rice Bowl; 1) Massive Unemployment; 2)From Organizational Dependence to Self-Reliance; 3) Ideology still matters: Persistence of Political Education and Thought Work. I argue that the current unemployment policy is a combination of both new and old, neo-liberal market rationality combined with old socialist ideological work
About the HYI Working Paper Series: The Harvard-Yenching Institute is pleased to make available working papers by HYI affiliated scholars on topics in the humanities and social sciences, with special attention to the study of Asian culture.
The HYI Working Paper Series welcomes submissions from all HYI-affiliated faculty and fellowship grantees (including graduate students). Scholars are invited to post papers either in English or in an Asian language. To submit a paper, please email email@example.com.
The views expressed in the HYI Working Paper Series are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. HYI Working Papers have not undergone formal review and approval. Such papers are included in this series to elicit feedback and to encourage discussion. Copyright belongs to the author(s). Papers may be downloaded for personal use only, and may not be cited without the author’s permission.