The Factory as an Institution: Life Chances in a Status Society

Andrew G. Walder

in Communist Neo-Traditionalism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1988 | ISBN: 9780520064706
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520909007 | DOI:
The Factory as an Institution: Life Chances in a Status Society

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China suffers from a massive oversupply of labor, while a labor shortage is currently a major constraint on Soviet industrial growth. The Soviet Union has been a predominantly urban society for two decades and has already passed through the demographic transition. China's demographic characteristics enhanced the pattern of worker dependence on the enterprise. The factors that improve the significance of workplace distributions and subsidies for individual workers are presented. The common thread in the Soviet and Chinese pattern is the heavy dependence on the state enterprise for the satisfaction of a broad range of the workers' needs. The high employment–low wage policy dictated relatively infrequent wage readjustments. In both China and the Soviet Union, the communist party maintains a regular system of compulsory meetings and political surveillance, and it controls both union and youth league branches in workshops.

Keywords: China; Soviet Union; worker; communist party; industrial growth; workplace distributions; employment; wage

Chapter.  22911 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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