Anne Rulliat

The city of Shanghai, which has been hard hit by the various reorganizations of state enterprises since the early 1990s, is a forerunner in policies to battle unemployment, to the extent that its achievements are often referred to by the expression the Shanghai model(Shanghai moshi). The city has been experiencing a variety of forms of unemployment since the year 2000, affecting not only workers in state enterprises but all categories of the population, particularly young people. This study examines the Shanghai model, first describing the causes of unemployment in Shanghai, and then tracing the development of the measures taken in the past ten years or so. From the widespread structural unemployment in the years 1996-1997 to the more contextual unemployment in recent years, the city has devised a whole array of measures that are constantly evolving. Some are specifically adapted to the organization of Chinese society, but a number of others are similar to those adopted in OECD countries. In opposition to the liberal discourse on the mercantilization of labor, these measures demonstrate a strong state voluntarism in employment policies. The preservation of social stability serves as a yardstick to gauge the effectiveness of these public policies.

Diana Hochraich

Since their economic development got under way, the ASEAN countries – which essentially manufacture labour-intensive products – have been marked by strong regional integration brought about by the segmentation of the production process engaged in by Japanese companies. In these countries, successive relocations resulted in de facto economic integration at a time when various political groupings intent on blocking the development of communism were also emerging. Since joining the WTO, China – the world’s workshop – has become the hub for trade with the developed countries. In the face of such competition, the ASEAN countries will have to show their capacity to maintain their position in the value chain represented by the production of all of the Asian countries. While a number of econometric studies seem to indicate that the ASEAN countries will succeed in this undertaking thanks to the specific nature of their production apparatus, it is important neither to underestimate China’s ability to learn quickly and its determination to move further up the production chain nor to overlook the total absence of industrial policy on the part of governments in these countries which follow the advice of international organisations. It would seem that the ASEAN countries, faced solely with market forces, cannot hope to enhance their limited ability to move up the production chain.

Florence Padovani

The study of the population movements caused by the major Chinese hydraulic projects reveals the true extent of the change which has come about in relations between the State and society in China. The construction of the Three Gorges dam – which led to considerable controversy both within China and beyond – is a prime case in point. As well as its social consequences, this infrastructure project has ramifications in the political, economic and legal domains, notably because of the forced migrations which it has entailed. The manner in which this question has been managed – both by central government, which planned the project, and by the provincial governments, which had to manage time constraints and financial and human resources at first hand – illustrates the extent to which the country has moved away from the authoritarian approach which had currency under the rule of Chairman Mao. The study of the project provides insights into the manner in which the authorities on the ground actually applied the directives received from the Centre, and into the difficulty encountered by the rulers in Beijing in ensuring that their centralised vision of the new China holds sway. The way in which the sensitive issue of forced migrations has been managed highlights what is at stake in the disputes between the various players, i.e. officials in the many ministries concerned, local and provincial authorities, displaced populations and host populations. The specific modes of justification employed by each group provide pointers towards an understanding of the complexity of China's new "civil society".

Caroline Dufy

Barter was a prominent issue in public debate during the 1990s in Russia: it prompted a more overall reflection on the nature of the Russian economy and the aim pursued by economic reforms. These major issues shaped a number of divisions: the government opposition portrayed barter as one of the pernicious effects of economic policies that gave priority to finance to the detriment of the national productive sphere. For others, it was to be interpreted as the legacy of the Soviet industrial sector and its lack of competitiveness. The ruble crisis in 1998 paved the way for a reverse trend leading to the sudden decline of barter. Unlike the initial growth phase, the decrease in barter gave rise to little comment. Yet these two colliding changes provide an opportunity to review the relevance of the various interpretations offered. Furthermore, the effort to recontextualizing barter in an historic perspective provides keys to understanding the immense changes that occurred in Russia in the 1990s. The statistical indicator of barter will serve as a basis to formulate a central question: how should this swift decline of barter, offer a long, sustained increase, be interpreted: is it an adaptation in trade behavior to the new economic conditions or the effect of more restrictive legal standards? In the latter case, does this official decrease mask economic practices that are moving toward the informal sector? To understand the barter trade requires looking beyond stylized facts. By nature, statistics tend to objectify multifaceted phenomena. Our analysis fits within the anthropology of economic exchanges, striving to reconstitute the dynamic and subjective dimension that the actors’ practices and discourses give to barter. From this standpoint, we show that barter is the product of constant interactions between legal processes, economic context and socio-cultural context. The statistical decline of the barter indicator in that case seems to be one of the visible effects of deep-seated changes that have marked the new working environment for Russian business.