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68 Jay St
Btwn Water & Front Streets
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 12
Teacher: Szu-Yun Hsu

What you'll learn in this economics course:

The “rise of China” is discussed in increasingly fraught and contested terms. On the one hand, the People’s Republic of China is often looked upon as an economic miracle, with the most dramatic poverty reduction in human history and “the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy,” in the words of the World Bank. On the other hand, China is frequently characterized, across the American political and media spectrum, as a kind of national, global, or “civilizational” threat. How can we reach a more nuanced understanding of China in a globalized world? How can we understand the internal and external dynamics that have contributed to its “rise”?

In this course, we’ll explore China’s rapid development by examining the dynamics between China’s internal reforms, initiated after the death of Mao, and the wider forces of globalization. We’ll start by critically examining the rationale, logics, and politics of China’s post-1979 market reforms, as well as its social and political impacts on both urban and rural populations. As we proceed, we’ll explore the institutions and systems underpinning China’s economic growth, including: domestic and foreign direct investment; its unique property formations and spatially differentiated economic activities (such as Town-and-Village Enterprises and Special Economic Zones); the duality of political centralization-decentralization; and the “hukou” system that constituted China’s post-reform labor regimes.

We’ll then turn our attention to China’s “state-owned enterprises” (SOEs)—their position within China’s economy and the crucial role they played during the four-decade market reform era. What, we’ll ask, is the dynamic between China’s public and private sectors? What is its impact on the lives of workers? Finally, we’ll examine China’s position and interventions in the globalized world, including its “Go Abroad” geoeconomic strategy and subsequent “Belt-and-Road Initiative.” What role does China play as a global economic power? How does it fit within, or destabilize, the Atlantic-centric neoliberal economic order? To what extent do China’s activities overseas present, as some argue, a new form of “imperialism”?


There *is* no physical Brooklyn Institute. We hold our classes all over (thus far) Brooklyn and Manhattan, in alternative spaces ranging from the back rooms of bars to bookstores to spaces in cultural centers, including the Center for Jewish History, the Goethe-Institut, and the Barnard Center for Research on Women. We can (and do) turn any space into a classroom. You will be notified of the exact location when you register for a class.

Instructors will contact students approximately one week prior to the first class with reading assignments and details about the course location.

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Refund Policy
Upon request, we will refund the entire cost of a class up until 1 week before its start date. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to a 75% refund. After the first class: 50%. After the second: 25%. No refunds will be given after the third class.


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School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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