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Tocquevillian Moments: Charitable Contributions by Chinese Private Entrepreneurs

Dali Ma and William L. Parish
Social Forces
Vol. 85, No. 2 (Dec., 2006), pp. 943-964
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4494945
Page Count: 22
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Tocquevillian Moments: Charitable Contributions by Chinese Private Entrepreneurs
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Abstract

Using a 1995 national survey of 2,870 Chinese private entrepreneurs, this article examines collaboration between private business and government in times of economic transition. Much as in the late 18th century situation in France as described by Tocqueville, special moments occur when a newly emerging business class offers monetary payments for charity and for honorary offices. In exchange, the government, desperate for new sources of revenue, provides social recognition and political access. The data suggest that into at least the 1990s Chinese private entrepreneurs donated generously to government welfare projects, and in exchange gained political access and social status via appointment to political councils.

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