The Accidental Capitalist: A People's Story of the New China

Behzad Yaghmaian. Pluto (Palgrave Macmillan, dist.), $29 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-7453-3230-7
Iranian-born Yaghmaian (Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West), professor of political economy at Ramapo College, reports on the economic and social conditions of contemporary China through the lens of internal migrant workers' lives. A modern Alexis de Tocqueville, the author lived among his subjects in Shenzen, "the heartbeat of the rising China," while scouring the metropolis for stories. Book I introduces readers to Grandpa, who fortuitously recites a political and cultural history of China, which sets the stage for further interviews. Book II follows two young women who spend six days a week at factory jobs and are grateful for the chance to practice their English with the author, and in Book III readers meet the titular "accidental capitalist," 42-year-old Zhao Gang, who struck it rich with his manufacturing company, where he regularly puts in 16-hour days. Book IV is devoted to a portrait of Gang's mentor, self-described "corporate vagabond" Yue Haitao, an extraordinarily wealthy businessman whose tense relationship with one of Yaghmaian's student interpreters reveals the psychological effects of the socioeconomic gaps that plague so many capitalist nations. Casting off polemics and opting instead to address China's development anecdotally, Yaghmaian crafts a moving portrait of the diverse individuals behind the ubiquitous label "Made in China." Photos, map, & timeline. (Apr. 1)
Reviewed on: 04/09/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
Show other formats
Hardcover - 173 pages - 978-0-7453-3231-4
Hardcover - 193 pages - 978-1-84964-652-9
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.