Gunther Teubner and Qi Chunyi, ‘Multiple Modernities: An Alternative to Western Economists’ Recommendations for China’s Private Law’

The article criticizes the recent World Bank report, “China 2030” which formulates a new development strategy for China to rebalance the role of government and market, private sector and society. The report deals explicitly with the role that private law should play as means of economic modernization. The main thesis of this article is that the World Bank report develops a rather one-sided vision of the future of China’s private law based on the prejudice that there is one and only one way to the modernization of Chinese society. In contrast, a sociological view suggests that China’s law should develop in a way that is called “multiple modernities”. There are two dimensions in which this multiplicity of paths to modernity is realized. One is functional: while the World Bank recommends a unifunctional economic modernization, systems theory would follow a multifunctional approach. The other dimension is historical and cultural: While the World Bank perceives a universal transcultural path to modernity, sociological thinking would take into account the varieties of regional cultures in their specific paths to modernity and would stress that specific Chinese characteristics have a strong influence in this process. The article elaborates the thesis on the following issues which are controversially discussed in China’s private law (1) the multidimensional role of private law, (2) the horizontal effect of human rights, (3) the role of the political party.

Teubner, Gunther and Chunyi, Qi, Multiple Modernities: An Alternative to Western Economists’ Recommendations for China’s Private Law (March 5, 2013). Peking University Law Journal (Zhong Wai Fa Xue) 2013, 2.

First posted 2013-03-05 20:10:24

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