57 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2011 Last revised: 17 Nov 2011

Date Written: September 1, 2011


The central claim of this essay is that the political economies in contemporary China and Viet Nam represent instances of a distinctive kind of political economy – or regime – that is best characterized as market-Leninist. In market-Leninist regimes market economic institutions and market-based strategies of economic accumulation exist and develop in subordination to Leninist political institutions and ideology. This specific combination of institutional attributes and its attendant effects on welfare, stratification, and political consciousnesses is what distinguishes market-Leninist regimes from other forms of political economy. This essay identifies properties of market-Leninist regimes, examines their evolution, and considers their significance in comparative historical terms. The essay reflects on the prospects of market-Leninist regimes and the value and limitations of the concept for empirical analysis and the development of social theory.

Keywords: Market-Leninism, Viet Nam, Vietnam, China, Political Economy, East Asia, Comparative Political Economy, Regimes

Suggested Citation

London, Jonathan D., Market-Leninism (September 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Jonathan D. London (Contact Author)

City University of Hong Kong ( email )

83 Tat Chee Avenue
Hong Kong


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