Cadres, gangs and prophets: the commodity futures markets of China
Siu, Lucia Leung-Sea
MetadataShow full item record
In China's market reforms, the emergence of commodity futures markets marked the way in which the country took up more sophisticated components of capitalist markets. Based on seven months of ethnographic fieldwork in 2005, this thesis is the first ethnography conducted in the commodity futures markets of China. It provides field records of the relationship between state structures, quasi-public organisations and the private sector in a post-Communist market. It shows how social groups align to form capital factions, and how these factions attempt to calculate the actions of each other. It also provides an account of how knowledge is circulated, and how reputation, authority and expertise are developed within the markets. The author argues that the notion of"performativity" can be applied to the case of Chinese futures markets. The consensus held by market actors and their subsequent actions are a major contribution to market reality. In the context of Chinese markets. political power plays a particularly crucial role-it links up a politicized feedback loop between perception, action and reality. The thesis applies the concept of technology transfer to assess whether futures markets have an inherent "script" that unfolds and is implemented under different social, cultural and political contexts. Relaxing assumptions held by neoclassical economists (such as individualized rationality), the author believes that the feedback loop of knowledge, action and reality is th e "vanilla core" of markets. One of the key factors in success in market construction is the successful implementation of s.uch feedback loops.