«Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung des Doktorgrades des Fachbereichs Wirtschaftswissenschaften der Johann-Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am ...»
By contrast, following Weber, modern Capitalism is assuming the same form globally, wherever and whenever it arises, destroying the traditional structures of societies and unifying the cultural diversity required for its success. By contrast, in China specific cultural idiosyncrasies seem to exist which are able to produce a harmonious symbiosis with capitalistic structures, mutually assisting and enhancing the given opportunities. The Chinese economic system seems to prove that Capitalism need not override traditional social formations. It also overcomes the notion of efficiency as the most defining attribute of a successful economy. Cultures are able deal with the reality of a global capitalist system in different ways. Chinese Capitalism is based on long-lasting traditions and defines the boundaries of society and economy, of business and politics in a new way and thus rises above Weber‘s distinction of traditional and rational.
Additionally, personal networks proved to be extremely successful in dealing with (economic) crises in the past, and contributed to the fast recover after the 2008 financial crises. Also, by obtaining not only material but also symbolic capital, Chinese Capitalism shows that ―personal trust possesses more than just a functional [economic] value. This implies that Chinese Capitalism may in fact be more sustainable than is often assumed.
Instead of being destroyed, the Chinese family-based economy adapted to a capitalistic environment. The common view that Capitalism necessarily has to impoverish large fractions of the population and destroy traditional institutions to prosper might yet been proven wrong.
It might also be the case that the Chinese way of doing business will not only be sustainable, it might also be the case that the West will need to adapt its style towards one where the person of the entrepreneur and personal connection be of more importance. In contrast to the belief that only Chinese business practices need to move towards the Western style of doing business, it might be also the case that the West has to move in the direction of Guanxi-type systems. Increasingly, also in the West informal institutions develop, for example for giving loans ‗from private to private‘ as so called P2P-loans. Also, the development of ‗relationship marketing‘ is discovered as a way to reduce transaction costs, facilitate future marketing efforts and retain customers through specific and continuing relationships. To accomplish these goals trust and commitment is needed.
From Weber‘s point of view a specific Chinese Capitalism can only be a temporary phenomenon, since in the long-run it will converge to the usual contractual relations within large-scale enterprises. This is also believed by some Chinese authors who claim that ―the personalized transactional pattern […] will continually and expediently be transformed into the non-personalized transactional pattern‖.1641 However, Weber‘s thesis of an inevitable bureaucratization cannot be uphold. The flexible accumulation of 21st century Capitalism hinges not only on huge multinational corporations but has also ―achieve[d] a new competitive edge by abandoning hierarchical, capital-intensive bureaucratic enterprises for flexible smaller subcontracting firms‖, and thus family businesses.1642 For those reasons, this work, instead of constructing ―Capitalism as a monolithic, all-encompassing, penetrating, seamless, and integrated total system with a predetermined and knowable teleology‖1643 in line with Weber‘s thinking, identified a different type of Capitalism that consists of its own characteristic institutions.
However, family structures and economic change mutually influence each other. Economic development changes the nature of the family, but so too does the structure of the family influence the modalities of industrialization. China did not just copy the Western form of Capitalism, but has found its own way of coping with the demands of the world market. Institutions from the past were remodeled to adapt to the conditions of the modern global economy as efficiently as possible, instrumentalizing cultural and social institutions.1644 It has to be emphasized that this family-based system strongly depends on the exploitation of cheap labor, especially of women. Although very successful economically, Guanxi-type Capitalism is also a male dominated, patriarchal structure without being more humane or providing equality.
Guanxi-Capitalism revived authoritarian traditional institutions and made China a competitive force in the global market. Instead of regarding small family businesses as an outdated mode of production, Chinese economic success relies on the flexibility and personal networks of privately-owned firms. Thus, the rationality of Guanxi-Capitalism is based on the unique framework of China‘s culture and history. Personal relations were always of importance throughout the Chinese history and are deeply ingrained in the Chinese culture.
Jinchuan, 2004, p. 54.
Yang, 2000, p. 481.
Yang, 2000, p. 483.
Krug, 2002b, p. 141f.
So even though from a Western thinking this might be deemed inefficient, from a Chinese point of view it is not because Guanxi include not only economic considerations but also factors like reputation and long-term benefits for their family.
Market forces do not necessarily override the existing traditional features. One can argue that the Chinese type of Capitalism can be considered as a ‗hybrid Capitalism‘ that has elements of both Western and Chinese Capitalism. Institutional arrangements, the historical development and cultural elements have formed different ways of doing business. It is important to recognize that ―indigenous economies are not always plowed under with the introduction of Capitalism but may even experience renewal and pose a challenge to capitalist principles, stimulating us to rethink existing critiques of capitalism‖.1645 Yang, 2000, p. 477.
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