Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Hanlong Lu ─ Social Inequality and Social Governance in China

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

4 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room

Hanlong Lu, Institute of Sociology, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS)

There is much concern in China about visible increases in social inequality, particularly as they appear within major cities. These include income inequality, access to public services such as schools, where people live, and in what kind of housing. At the same time public officials are considering mechanisms of policy making, using the term "social governance" to refer both to public participation and to the state's ability to take public opinion and public needs into account. Professor Lu will discuss these issues as they show up at a national level and also in Shanghai, based on his extensive experience working with local government officials.

He will analyze how public policy can help reduce inequality and emphasize that the social challenges associated with the rising generation of migrant workers are all part of a broader set of development issues. He will discuss how the government can 1) appropriately redistribute social resources, 2) effectively meet diverse public needs, 3) provide equal opportunities and ensure fair share of economic success, and 4) advance progressive social policy, making social protection and welfare a production factor and propeller for future economic development. He will argue that the introduction of market mechanisms and the emergence of new social issues call for a “modernization transition” in governance.