Commanded Capitalism: a Study of the Beijing Financial Street

Fitzgerald, Mark C.. 2018. Commanded Capitalism: a Study of the Beijing Financial Street. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Commanded Capitalism: a Study of the Beijing Financial Street)
CUL_thesis_FitzgeraldM_2018.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (6MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

China’s economy continues to fascinate. For some time now, it has been the focus of a discourse centred on the nature and implications of the phenomenon of Chinese state capitalism. Much of the research on this phenomenon has highlighted the country’s industrial sector. However, another distinctive yet comparatively under-researched characteristic of contemporary Chinese state capitalism is its financial system. Although the basics of this system are widely understood, the specifics remain very much a black box. In what follows, I position Beijing’s financial centre as a scholarship void that that will provide grounded insights into this lacuna in our understanding of a particular aspect of state capitalism in China. In particular, this study focuses on the Beijing ‘Financial Street’ (jinrong jie; 金融界). Drawing on a strand of economic sociology that focuses on institutions, networks, social capital and culture, the financial centre is seen here as a setting supporting a central component of China’s model of economic model. This setting is characterised by a networked hierarchy of firms constitutive of the commanding heights of the country’s financial system. In turn, this networked hierarchy is shown to be embedded and configured according to larger, more elaborate networks inclusive of the party-state. It is argued that the organisational structure of Chinese state capitalism in the Financial Street takes the form of a political financial industrial complex, which differs from the popular image of financial centres as spaces of globalised capital flow.

Financial centres are phenomena of our time. They are the organisations according to which the economic landscapes of capitalism are configured. Whilst what is written here may be read as an attempt to bring the financial centre back down to earth, to ground it in a sustained scientific inquiry, this thesis is also meant to fit into the broader field of multiple capitalisms research. As a focal point for state capitalism, studying the Beijing Financial Street can tell us how China’s particular brand of capitalism is being constructed. It provides a window into some of the mechanics of Chinese economic development. This is important for deepening our knowledge and understanding of the nature of capitalism in general.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


multiple capitalisms, commanded capitalism, substantivism, substantive economics, local-state capitalism, Beijing, finance, Beijing Financial Street, political economy of finance, firm-network ecology, Huijin, party-state governance, nomenklatura, biopolitics, NEEQ, political financial industrial complex, infrastructure of means, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, One Belt One Road

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Centre for Cultural Studies (1998-2017)


30 June 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

16 Aug 2018 14:08

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:13


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)