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China and Inner Asia
In Session: Toward a Contestation? The Rise of China and Global Economic Governance
2: The Rise of Sino-Capitalism and Ideational Change in the Global Political Economy
Friday, March 26, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
Chaminade University of Honolulu, United States
As China’s political economy gains in global influence, its logic and nature continue to be misinterpreted. I put forward two interrelated arguments. First, the binary conception of a threatening state capitalist model of development centered on China juxtaposed with a benign liberal model of capitalism centered on the United States glosses over important complexities. For sure, a political economy approach views China’s rise as propelled by a new form of capitalism, Sino-capitalism, that accords state coordination greater influence over the economy. However, the conception of Sino-capitalism supersedes the popular notion that China’s political economy is solely characterized by “state capitalism.” Rather, it constitutes a multifarious force, combining top-down state-centric modes of governance with bottom-up networked modes of entrepreneurship. Second, the current shift in the global distribution of power tends to be solely seen from the perspective of power transition theory. The power of ideas plays a subordinate role, directly reflecting national interests. By focusing my analysis on the nature of Sino-capitalism and its changing global influence, a different picture emerges. An increasingly complex amalgam of existing global norms melds with Sino-capitalism’s precepts to foreshadow a fundamental change in the ideational nature of politico-economic discourse. This is especially with regard to economic ideology, including the nature of state-market relations and conceptions of economic development.