Cover: Market Maoists: The Communist Origins of China’s Capitalist Ascent, from Harvard University PressCover: Market Maoists in HARDCOVER

Market Maoists

The Communist Origins of China’s Capitalist Ascent

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Product Details


$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674986497

Publication Date: 05/11/2021


320 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

8 photos, 2 illus., 1 map


A sober, detailed account of the way modern China came to see that global trade could be a way to ‘fortify socialism…rather than degrade it.’… Kelly conveys what a highwire act it must have been to conduct business on Mao’s watch.—Tim Sifert, Asian Review of Books

Should appeal to scholars exploring the rise of neoliberalism and the transformation of global capitalism since the 1970s, in which the PRC played a leading role. The history of China’s capitalist ascent as sketched in Market Maoists is therefore critical to any history of the contemporary global economy.—Philip Thai, Business History Review

A beautifully written book with compelling insights on the neglected interactions between Maoist China and global capitalist markets. It unquestionably enriches our understanding of how socialist China skillfully did business with Western traders to achieve its goal of state modernization, and sheds new light on the PRC history with a refreshingly global perspective.—Shaofan An, China Review

An excellent book, extremely well researched and very well written. Kelly provides a valuable overview of PRC trade policies and the significance of China’s trade inside global markets during the Mao era. His comprehensive treatment of the internal battles over how to proceed with international trade and the effects these political decisions had on China’s future adds a great deal to our understanding of China in the world.—Odd Arne Westad, author of Empire and Righteous Nation: 600 Years of China–Korea Relations

Kelly skillfully integrates the Chinese case into a new wave of scholarship transforming our understanding of post–World War II global economic integration. Behind the political confrontation between market-led and planned economies during the Cold War, as he persuasively demonstrates, China’s ongoing need to trade continually shaped its foreign and domestic policy, anticipating the country’s more high-profile engagement with market economies in the late twentieth century and since.—Karl Gerth, author of Unending Capitalism: How Consumerism Negated China’s Communist Revolution

By examining how the Chinese Communist Party leadership treated trade with the capitalist world, Kelly sheds new light on China’s commercial policies and activities and presents the Maoists as being much more economically well-informed and internationally vigorous than previously understood. An original contribution, as well as a joy to read.—Shu Guang Zhang, author of Economic Cold War: America’s Embargo against China and the Sino–Soviet Alliance, 1949–1963

An excellent history of China’s state-led international economic relations in the Maoist era. Kelly captures China’s necessary turn to trade with the West after 1973 as the precondition of the globalizing Chinese economy we know today. Most important, he reminds us, rightly, that for Mao and his successors, ‘trade always served politics.’ The Party would remain in control. This is a lesson taken to heart by Chinese leaders today.—William C. Kirby, coauthor of Can China Lead? Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth

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