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Social Science and Public Policy

Capitalist Trade in the Making of Mao’s China

October 18, 2022 at 12:30pm2:00pm

Virtual (See event details)

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The Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs’ East Asia Program presents Jason Kelly. China today seems caught in a contradiction: a capitalist state led by a Communist party. But this seeming paradox is hardly new. Since the 1930s, well before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power, CCP traders have sought deals with capitalists around the world. During the Mao era, this quest for access to overseas capitalist markets—alongside China’s embrace of socialist revolution at home—created a paradoxical momentum at the heart of the Chinese revolution. What motivations and rationales lay behind the CCP’s early search for capitalist trade? How did this trade shape the making of Mao’s China? And why does this Maoist trade with capitalists matter today? This talk explores these questions by drawing from Kelly’s recent book, Market Maoists: The Communist Origins of China’s Capitalist Ascent.  

Jason M. Kelly is Senior Lecture in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Cardiff University and Associate in Research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. Trained as a historian of modern China, he was also previously a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

This event was first published on October 4, 2022 and last updated on January 19, 2023.

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