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Abstract

The different paths of economic development between Manchuria and the China proper in modern times has long been noticed and attributed to the distinctive Japanese colonialism and imperialism. Contrary to the literatures that examine Manchuria through national historical perspectives, this thesis proposes a Manchuria-centered regional economic point of view that cuts through Chinese warlord, Japanese imperialist, Nationalist, and Communist political regimes between 1918 and 1954, and reconnects these fragmented periods back into a continuous pattern of political economy, conceptualized as the heavy industrial state. Four major characteristics of the heavy industrial state in Manchuria are described and analyzed in a chronological order with the existing and recently unveiled historical records. First, the Manchurian state consistently spends a considerable portion of revenue on increasing industrial output by building, consolidating and expanding modern fiscal and monetary power. It prioritizes heavy industrialization under shifting geopolitical pressures through empowered central planning agencies and in the form of annual or five-year plans. In addition, the state enterprise system and its government managing apparatus are the main developmental actors to carry out the economic plans conceived and financed by the state. And finally, the heavy industrial state derives its core technological and managerial assistances and acquires the advanced machinery mostly through exclusive political-military alliances with preferential terms. As a fertile soil for experimenting European anti-liberal capitalism ethos, military, political, economic and technological elites of East Asia, though implacable foes against each other in many respects, explored a resembling prototype of the future developmental and socialist state in Manchuria. However, they also built a special state-economy/society relationship into the semi-periphery state that exudes the chronic problem of addressing national autonomy at the expense of profitability, despite its merits in claiming miraculous economic results in Asia. This cradle and training camp of Manchurian Atlas becomes a focal point once again when China is poised for deepening the reform of its economic system and widening its integration into the global capitalist system in the 21st century.

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