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New book describes “disempowered development” in Tibet

November 11, 2013

On Thursday, November 14, the Canada Tibet Committee will host an advance online launch of The Disempowered Development of Tibet in China: A Study in the Economics of Marginalization, by Canadian development economist Andrew Martin Fischer.

The book launch WEBINAR will take place on November 14, at 10:00 EDT.  To register, contact

Fischer argues that the intensified economic integration of Tibet into China’s regional and national development strategies on these assimilationist terms, within a context of continued political disempowerment, and through the massive channeling of subsidies through Han Chinese dominated entities based outside the Tibetan areas, has accentuated various dynamics of subordination and marginalization faced by Tibetans of all social strata.

In his book, Fischer illustrates how such policies effectively accentuate the discriminatory, assimilationist and disempowering characteristics of development, even while producing considerable improvements in the material consumption of local Tibetans.  In particular, strong cultural, linguistic and political biases intensify ethnically-exclusionary dynamics among middle and upper strata of the Tibetan labor force, which is problematic considering the rapid shift of Tibetans out of agriculture and towards the highly subsidy-dependent sectors of the economy, especially in urban areas.

Andrew M. Fischer is a development economist and Associate Professor in Population and Social Policy at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands. He earned his PhD in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. His PhD research examined Chinese development strategies in the ethnic minority provinces of Western China from the early 1990s onwards, focusing on Tibetan areas in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Disempowered Development of Tibet in China will be available on November 25, 2013.

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