Dissertation > Political, legal > China's political > Political system and national institutions > Local people's governments

"Social Agent": between Active and Inactive

Author HuZhongMing
Tutor WangZuo
School Zhejiang Normal University
Course Administration
Keywords Wenzhou Local Government Social Agent Active Inactive Society State Market
CLC D625
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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After reform and open policy 30 for many years, "Wenzhou model" is now in a new node of historical transformation. There is no doubt that the explanatory framework of "active-inactive" is successful in the course of studying the role of Wenzhou local government. This theory makes great contribution to explaining the origination and development of "Wenzhou model", and the local government’s role in that period. However, as a historical category, "active (inactive) government" has interpretation limit in its specific historical context. To investigate the conditions of the explanatory framework about "active-inactive", we can find that it may be encountered three problems in present context:the shackles of relativism, the failure of binary opposition between state and market, the inability to adapt to changes in the practice of management. Undoubtedly, it requires the researchers make amendments and transcend the explanatory framework in theory.Review the "Wenzhou model" and re-examine behavior evolution trajectory of the local government in the economic and social development process, critics could clearly find that:from the "inactive" to "active", the changed role of Wenzhou local government effectively promoted the sound operation of the local economy and society, and played an irreplaceable role on the origination and development of "Wenzhou model". Several cases showed that the dialectical role of "inactive" and "active" further reflected the changing relationship and adjusting function range between the state and the market. Local government consciously or unconsciously played a role on balancing the relationship between the state and the market. Wenzhou local government’s role between "active" and "inactive" has duality feature, and the state and the market has a fuzzy boundary.Undoubtedly, the role change of Wenzhou local government had deep-seated social influence factors. In the process of origination and development in Wenzhou model, the dual role of "active" and "inactive" which Wenzhou local government played on was originated from the diverse factors of Wenzhou’s politics, economy, culture and so on. Structure variables such as "local culture-ideology", "economic demands-financial pressure" and "informal system-the formal system" profoundly affected the behavior of local government. To satisfy the region’s actual requirements of social development and help the local people live better, Wenzhou local government effectively played the role of "social agent" depending on effective communication with the state and the market. Thus, it is obviously erroneous only to use "the relationship between government and the market" to explain the "Wenzhou model" or only to use "economic development-oriented government" to define the role of Wenzhou local government:it is a "Social Man", not an "Economic Man".At present, new goals of the development of "Wenzhou model" and changes in the practice of local governance has made us do efforts to transcend the theoretical debate about "active" and "inactive", and to define the Wenzhou local government’s new role. To promote the rebirth of the theory explanatory power and the development of practice, it is indispensable to have three basic conditions:the core idea is the administration value of society-centered; the reality basement is the positive collaboration relationship between local government and society; the necessary mean is the multifaceted cooperation governance. These conditions will help public administration transcend the established explanatory framework of "active-inactive", re-define the role of the local government, and adapt to new historical context of social governance.

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