“Partisan writing” is not an act of sectarianism, but a token of basic honesty
towards the reader.
daniel bensaïd, An Impatient Life
In 2004 a group of influential Chinese economists felt secure enough in
the ideological turn of Chinese society up to that point to form the Chi-
nese Hayek Society. Dedicated to the proposition that any and all state
intervention in the economy is the “road to serfdom,” as Hayek had fa-
mously termed it in 1944 and as Chinese were well familiar with after
the late 1990s translation of that work, the Chinese Hayek Society held
its seventh annual conference in 2012, with papers ranging from attacks
on state- owned enterprises to defenses of the full privatization of land
in the rural areas, along with a host of more esoteric topics. While the
society does not appear to be a big player in policy or academia, its ex-
istence is symbolically impor tant. Indeed, these days, the force of almost
two de cades’ critique of state dominance of the economy, the global wave
of austerity hysteria, and recent World Bank reports on marketization and
the Chinese economy are likely to push China farther down the road to
market fetishism than anyone might have thought pos si ble after the 2008
global financial downturn. And yet this Chinese “Hayekian” moment will
possess certain characteristics par tic u lar to this historical juncture at this
location. For, con temporary Hayek- in- China cannot be about the total
withdrawal of the Chinese state from the economy or from society; it will
most likely have been about the more thorough merging of the state with
the economy, albeit not as its centralized commandist director (as under
Mao), nor as its puppet master, but in the guise of its censorial comprador.
Indeed, while Mao is surely turning in his grave over what his successors
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