Mao and Markets: The Communist Roots of Chinese Enterprise

Key information

5:15 pm to 6:45 pm
Russell Square: College Buildings

About this event

As China opened up its economy over the past four decades, conventional wisdom held that the country’s growing embrace of free markets would lead to a more liberal society.

Instead, China’s unprecedented economic growth has positioned state capitalism as a durable foil to the orthodoxy of free markets, to the confusion of many in the West. At the twentieth Party Congress in Beijing in October 2022, Xi Jinping was appointed to a third 5-year term as China’s supreme leader, and many have commented on his renewed embrace of Maoist principles.

What does this mean for the future of the Chinese economy and relations with the West? What are the implications of China returning to some of the ideological principles spearheaded by Mao Zedong? And how much of China’s decades of economic success can be credited to Mao and Maoism? 

Based on his book Mao and Markets (Yale University Press, 2023), Professor Christopher Marquis examines these questions and charts how Mao’s ideological principles, mass campaigns, and socialist institutions have enduringly influenced Chinese entrepreneurs, listed companies and provincial and city politicians.

About the speaker

Christopher Marquis is the Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. He is the author the award winning books Better Business: How the B Corp Movement is Remaking Capitalism and Mao and Markets: The Communist Roots of Chinese Enterprise. Prior to joining Cambridge he worked at Cornell for over 6 years, and Harvard for over 11 years, where he developed an award-winning course on social entrepreneurship.

He is the author of more than 20 peer-reviewed academic articles and more than 50 Harvard business cases on topics related to sustainable business, and has earned awards for scholarly achievement from the Academy of Management and the American Sociological Association.

Marquis earned a PhD in sociology and business administration from the University of Michigan and BA in History from Notre Dame. Before his academic career, he worked for six years in the financial services industry, most recently as vice president and technology manager for a business unit of J.P. Morgan Chase.


This event is open to the public and free to attend, however registration is required. Please note that this seminar is taking place on campus and will not be recorded or live-streamed.


SOAS China Institute

  • Chair: Professor Steve Tsang (Director, SOAS China Institute)