Many see the Chinese economic miracle as an illustration of an alternative model of development to the neoliberal orthodoxy. It is also assumed that China’s increasing economic and political involvement in the Global South, from its Asia neighbors to countries in faraway developing regions, challenge American domination. In this paper, I argue that China’s export-oriented developmental miracle is in fact a constitutive part of the global neoliberal order, and is made possible by unique conditions difficult to be replicated in other places. At the same time, China’s overseas economic interests is still relatively small if we discount capital flight in the outgoing flow of investment. Having that said, China’s rise as a capital exporter is still making it follow the footstep of preceding capitalist-hegemonic powers to protect its global economic interests by learning to project its political influence overseas. Having been a free rider in the US-centered global order for decades, mastering the skill of exercising its political and military muscle on the global stage effectively is going to be a long process for China.
Ho-Fung Hung is the Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld professor in Political Economy in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and in the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Hung’s scholarly interests include global political economy, protest, and nation-state formation, with a focus on China and East Asia. He is the author of the award-winning Protest with Chinese Characteristics (2011) and The China Boom: Why China Will not Rule the World (2016), both published by Columbia University Press. His articles have appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, Development and Change, Review of International Political Economy, Asian Survey, and elsewhere, and have been translated into seven different languages. His analyses of the Chinese political economy and Hong Kong politics have been featured or cited in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, BBC News, The Guardian, Die Presse (Austria), Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil), The Straits Times (Singapore), The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Xinhua Monthly (China), and People’s Daily (China), among other publications.
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies