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Christopher A. McNally

China provides an incisive example of a society that experimented during the twentieth century with perhaps every major social development model in existence at that time. Contemporary China has seen the most expansive, rapid and sustained industrialization in human history, creating opportunities for massive wealth accumulation. But in the same historical time span, Chinese breakneck growth has created some of the largest socio-economic inequalities on earth, massive environmental degradation, and a cultural no-man’s land of materialism and consumerism in the world’s oldest continuous civilization. Perhaps most intriguingly, China’s experiences have not corresponded to the standard Western prescriptions for economic development based on liberal markets and politics; neither have they adapted the insights of the post-development and post-globalization perspectives to inspire a new course of development. This chapter illuminates the broad development debates through a systematic review of China’s development path(s).