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Meng, Gaofeng (2019) 'The Household Responsibility System, Karl Marx’s Theory of Property and Antony M. Honoré’s Concept of Ownership.' Science and Society, 83 (3). pp. 300-326.

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The Household Responsibility System (HRS) has improved agricultural productivity and promoted economic growth and thus relieved poverty in the rural population of China. However, the prevailing assumptions about its nature are that it was the result of de-collectivization and privatization (or at least semi-privatization) of land and thus an adaptation of capitalism or semi-capitalism. Moreover, the property rights structure of the HRS in China is also often assumed to be ambiguous and insecure. Grasping the principal characteristics of the HRS requires historical analysis of its origin, development and eventual legislation and institutionalization. Marx's theory of property is the key to understanding the institutional change from the Commune System to the HRS. It reveals that the HRS is one kind of “individual property” that Marx envisioned in post-capitalist society. Antony M. Honoré's theoretical framework of ownership is usefully viewed as a development of Marx's theory; within that framework, the HRS emerges as a kind of “split ownership” and its property rights structure can be judged to be well-defined.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Marx on property, Commune System, Household Responsibility System, Chinese agriculture, Honoré
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
K Law > KL Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
H Social Sciences
J Political Science
K Law
S Agriculture
ISSN: 00368237
Copyright Statement: © 2019 by S & S Quarterly, Inc. Published in final form at: For all other uses of this material, please contact the publisher's permissions department at
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2022 12:36
Related URLs: https://guilfor ... o.2019.83.3.300 (Publisher URL)

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