The Household Responsibility System, Karl Marx’s theory of property and Antony M. Honoré’s concept of ownership

Meng, G. (2019) The Household Responsibility System, Karl Marx’s theory of property and Antony M. Honoré’s concept of ownership. Science and Society, 83(3), pp. 300-326. (doi:10.1521/siso.2019.83.3.300)

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Abstract

The Household Responsibility System (HRS) has improved agricultural productivity and promoted economic growth and thus relieved poverty in the rural population of China. However, the prevailing assumptions about its nature are that it was the result of de-collectivization and privatization (or at least semi-privatization) of land and thus an adaptation of capitalism or semi-capitalism. Moreover, the property rights structure of the HRS in China is also often assumed to be ambiguous and insecure. Grasping the principal characteristics of the HRS requires historical analysis of its origin, development and eventual legislation and institutionalization. Marx's theory of property is the key to understanding the institutional change from the Commune System to the HRS. It reveals that the HRS is one kind of “individual property” that Marx envisioned in post-capitalist society. Antony M. Honoré's theoretical framework of ownership is usefully viewed as a development of Marx's theory; within that framework, the HRS emerges as a kind of “split ownership” and its property rights structure can be judged to be well-defined.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Meng, Gaofeng
Authors: Meng, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Science and Society
Publisher:Guilford Press
ISSN:0036-8237
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Guilford Press
First Published:First published in Science and Society 83(3):300-326
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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