Rural Urban Inequality In Contemporary China The Impact Of The Prc Hukou System

2663 words - 11 pages

-- The Summary of the Reading Materials:
  The PRC hukou system, whose formal name is “huji” system, institutionally divides and organizes the Chinese people. To fully appreciate the significance of the hukou system, however, is not easy, even though many, especially those who have lived under the system, can vividly and endlessly attest its mighty presence. For it extensively and powerfully affects almost every aspect of the Chinese society and way of life. In this process, the hukou system tends to generate multifaceted, sometimes even contradictory and conflicting effects on China’s politics, economy, and social life.In politics,the PRC hukou system established stability, authoritarianism, and Elite Class. In economics, the hukou system has allowed the PRC to circumvent the Lewis Transition (also known as Lewis turning point, made in 1968 by Lewis, describes with the growth of rural economic , cheap labor after being fully absorbed, their wages will rise significantly. Lewis displayed with this theory of industrialization and urbanization are the best means to combat rural poverty) and hence to enjoy rapid economic growth and technological sophistication in a dual economy with the existence of massive surplus labor, however, the hukou system has created tremendous irrationalities, imbalances, and waste in the Chinese economy and barriers to further development of the Chinese market. At the same time, the PRC hukou system has generated a regionally uneven development and spatial inequality, such as the capita income gap, legal minimum wages, the amount of Welfare Pay. The PRC hukou system made a horizontal stratification in social life: Chinese culture, social stratification, and social norms and values have all developed regional characteristics as well as a rural-versus-urban differentiation . And the PRC hukou system discourages and even hinders the development of creativity and ingenuity that often accompany people’s horizontal and vertical mobility in a society.
As the development of the PRC hukou system, is the rural-urban inequality trends in contemporary China (after 1949).In the Mao Era, when Mao Zedong and his colleagues came to to power in 1949 they decided to create a more egalitarian social order through the class struggle and the creation of socialist institutions. After the Three Great Reconstruction, however, the struggle for social equality did not end there. Mao and his colleagues launched the Great Leap Forward and instituted People’ s Commune. Mao even launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966. Within these processes, however, the rural-urban gap became deeper under the bureaucratic control and the harsh hukou system. The rural residents still could not change their fate through urban migration. In the Reform Era, the need of labor force loosed the migration restriction and promotes the developments of rural regions. On the other hand, rural-urban gap instead expanded in almost every aspect.
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