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By Fei-Ling Wang (auth.)

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Additional info for Institutions and Institutional Change in China: Premodernity and Modernization

Sample text

But this also tends to contribute to the incapacity of the market mechanisms such as price determination and free entry of competitors (Williamson 1977, 112-22 and North 1981, 34). The market then deteriorates into oligopoly or even monopoly with an inefficient economy. Structurally, this behavior of firms tends to affect state policy making, thus yielding a much more damaging impact on the whole national market. A "self-destruct tendency of the market system," argued Douglass North (1981,183-4), is therefore inherent.

Many secondary human needs and desires that develop over time often tend to obscure the boundaries among the three spheres of the human institution. The historically heavy influence of religious beliefs in social sciences, especially in philosophy, may make this categorization of the human institution unacceptable to many. They may contend it "ignores" those predestined "spiritual pursuits" thought by many to be an independent and major, if not primary, purpose of human behavior. Empirically, confusions about this typology are almost inevitable since many human actions may actually contain one, two or all three aspects at one point.

III. AN INSTITUTIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF MODERNITY AND MODERNIZATION Having clarified the concept of the human institution, I turn now to discuss an institutional notion of modernity, followed by a conceptual examination of the contents and routes of modernization. Institutions, Institutional Changes and Modernization 27 Modernity: An Institutional Notion Modernization, wrote Samuel Huntington (1968, 32-4), is "a multifaceted process" towards modernity that ought to be understood on psychological, intellectual, demographic, economic, and political levels.

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