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Book part
Publication date: 8 August 2017

Lorenzo Fusaro

This paper attempts to critically question present IPE approaches and analyses that aim at assessing China’s role within the international political economy. Thus, unlike…

Abstract

This paper attempts to critically question present IPE approaches and analyses that aim at assessing China’s role within the international political economy. Thus, unlike common theorizations that see the country as being integrated within US hegemony (Panitch and Gindin) or those accounts that claim that we are already witnessing the “terminal crisis” of US hegemony accompanied by a hegemonic transition toward China (Arrighi), the paper will argue that China was able to gain “relative geopolitical autonomy” as a result of the revolutionary processes it went through and eventually assert itself as a contender state, now just in the process of challenging US hegemony. Dissatisfied with existent theorizations of hegemony, I will be drawing on the critical edition of Gramsci’s Quaderni and attempt to offer a new perspective regarding the conceptualization thereof. Thus applying the elaborated framework of analysis to the current situation, I argue that unlike the US’s ability to counter the challenge of its traditional imperial rivals Germany and Japan as they developed under the grip of US hegemony, the country is facing difficulties in countering China’s ascent. However, while maintaining that China does indeed represent a challenge to US hegemony, particularly in East Asia, I will argue that the idea of a “crisis of US hegemony” is premature as China remains distant from fully realizing hegemonic relations, even at the regional level.

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Return of Marxian Macro-Dynamics in East Asia
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-477-4

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Book part
Publication date: 31 March 2015

Ho-fung Hung

From the sixteenth to eighteenth century, China underwent a commercial revolution similar to the one in contemporaneous Europe. The rise of market did foster the rise of a…

Abstract

From the sixteenth to eighteenth century, China underwent a commercial revolution similar to the one in contemporaneous Europe. The rise of market did foster the rise of a nascent bourgeois and the concomitant rise of a liberal, populist version of Confucianism, which advocated a more decentralized and less authoritarian political system in the last few decades of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). But after the collapse of the Ming Empire and the establishment of the Qing Empire (1644–1911) by the Manchu conquerors, the new rulers designated the late-Ming liberal ideologies as heretics, and they resurrected the most conservative form of Confucianism as the political orthodoxy. Under the principle of filial piety given by this orthodoxy, the whole empire was imagined as a fictitious family with the emperor as the grand patriarch and the civil bureaucrats and subjects as children or grandchildren. Under the highly centralized administrative and communicative apparatus of the Qing state, this ideology of the fictitious patrimonial state penetrated into the lowest level of the society. The subsequent paternalist, authoritarian, and moralizing politics of the Qing state contributed to China’s nontransition to capitalism despite its advanced market economy, and helped explain the peculiar form and trajectory of China’s popular contention in the eighteenth century. I also argue that this tradition of fictitious patrimonial politics continued to shape the state-making processes in twentieth-century China and beyond.

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Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-757-4

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Book part
Publication date: 24 June 2014

Ho-fung Hung

Since the 1970s, many global political economists have been seeing the US as a declining hegemon. After four decades into this hegemonic decline, performance of economies…

Abstract

Since the 1970s, many global political economists have been seeing the US as a declining hegemon. After four decades into this hegemonic decline, performance of economies having been regarded as candidates for new hegemons such as Germany/Europe and Japan fell far short of these expectations, while US share of the global economy and its military supremacy remained stable. This staying power of the US stems from the “dollar standard,” under which the US dollar is the dominant foreign reserve currency and international transaction medium in the world economy. The dollar standard originated in the Cold War era when all major capitalist powers relied on the US for military protection. It persisted after the end of Cold War, thanks to the continuous mutual reinforcement of the dollar standard and the global domination of the US military. The recent rise of China, which is the first major capitalist power outside the orbit of US military protection, poses a serious dilemma to the US. On the one hand, China’s export-oriented development drives China to purchase US Treasuries on a massive scale, hence lending support to the short-term viability of the dollar. On the other hand, US’s skyrocketing current account deficit, much attributable to China, precipitates a crisis of confidence over the dollar’s long-term prospects. China is likewise caught in a dilemma between sustaining its export-driven growth and shifting to a domestic-consumption-driven economy. The development of the US–China currency conflict, together with the transformation of the Chinese developmental model, will be the most important determinant shaping the future of the dollar standard and US global power in the years to come.

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The United States in Decline
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-829-7

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Book part
Publication date: 23 August 2012

Ho-Fung Hung

Seeing capitalism as a system defined by the imperative of the ceaseless accumulation of capital, instead of using the definition based on wage labor or international…

Abstract

Seeing capitalism as a system defined by the imperative of the ceaseless accumulation of capital, instead of using the definition based on wage labor or international trade as Block questions, I argue that the concept of capitalism is still too useful to be abandoned, and cannot be replaced by the Polanyian concept of market in our critique of political economy. As Fernand Braudel and Giovanni Arrighi contend, the capitalist logic of capital accumulation, which is affined to monopoly and state power, is antithetical to the logic of market exchange, which is decentralized and prioritizes livelihoods over profits. Historically, capitalism sometimes made use of the market and sometimes subjugated the market to facilitate accumulation. Likewise, globalization today is a combined movement of expanding free market in certain aspects of life through financial deregulation, privatization, trade liberalization, etc. on the one hand, and exclusion of various processes and costs outside the market through revival of extra-economic coercion, externalization of environmental costs, etc., on the other hand. The imperative of capital accumulation drive capitalists and capitalist states to foster marketization and demarketization in different times and spaces. The critique of and resistance to our capitalist system needs to be antimarket in some instances and pro-market in others. A Polanyian critique of the free market is surely powerful and helpful, but it is not enough for our full understanding of the economic malaises of our times. It is at best counterproductive to throw away the concept of capitalism altogether.

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Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-867-0

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Book part
Publication date: 24 June 2014

Richard Lachmann

Is the United States in decline? If so, what are the causes and dimensions of that decline and is it irreversible? Will American decline be accompanied by the rise of a…

Abstract

Is the United States in decline? If so, what are the causes and dimensions of that decline and is it irreversible? Will American decline be accompanied by the rise of a new hegemon? To what extent are that rise and decline merely concurrent processes, determined by forces internal to each polity, or are American decline and the rise of its competitors both manifestations of a single global dynamic?

This introduction defines decline and presents the answers to those questions offered by the authors of the chapters in this volume. I conclude by analyzing the effects of internal US decline upon the global economy and geopolitics and offer an agenda for future research on politics and nationalism in a post-hegemonic world.

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The United States in Decline
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-829-7

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Book part
Publication date: 23 August 2012

Fred Block

In response to Bandelj, Hung, and Streeck, I make three basic points. First, while the initial article focused on definitions of capitalism as a system, the critics prefer…

Abstract

In response to Bandelj, Hung, and Streeck, I make three basic points. First, while the initial article focused on definitions of capitalism as a system, the critics prefer to see capitalism as a spirit or a tendency that emphasizes the unlimited pursuit of profit. While we are in agreement that such a tendency is destructive, it is confusing to define capitalism this way when most others are using the term to describe a system that they see as coherent. Second, some of the critics question whether efforts to reign in the capitalist impulse can be successful for very long. I argue that the breakdown of restraints in the post-World War II period can be traced to the end of the Bretton Woods regime of fixed exchange rates in 1973. This policy shift was neither inevitable nor the result of political agency by financial or corporate interests. Third, the concept of capitalism fails to illuminate key fault lines in contemporary political economies such as the divide between finance and production or between giant firms and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

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Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-867-0

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Book part
Publication date: 24 June 2014

Abstract

Details

The United States in Decline
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-829-7

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 23 August 2012

Abstract

Details

Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-867-0

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 31 March 2015

Abstract

Details

Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-757-4

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2020

Juan Enrique Serrano Moreno, Diego Telias and Francisco Urdinez

The objective of this study is to address the diplomatic and economic implications of the participation of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) countries in the Belt and…

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this study is to address the diplomatic and economic implications of the participation of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) countries in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Design/methodology/approach

The study examines official documents related to the BRI and LAC's signing of the Memorandum of Understanding within the framework of the BRI (MoUs) in order to look into what it means to join the BRI. Additionally, it also introduces the findings of articles in Asian Education and Development Studies' current issue published in 2020.

Findings

In LAC, the BRI does not represent a new policy, but rather the updating and rebranding of a pre-existing one. The BRI primarily consists of an official discursive framework which aims to build a coherent narrative for a wide range of different projects and policies geared toward the improvement of connectivity with China through the development of trade and investments. However, most of these projects were implemented prior to the BRI. Pragmatism lies at the core of this framework which neither has a regulated accession process nor any binding effects. As a result, the signing the MoU represents, foremost, a diplomatic mise-en-scène. The study operates under the belief that BRI membership is not dichotomous; rather, it must be observed in terms of the countries' level of participation. In line with this, the implementation of a generalized BRI policy in LAC countries would not be advisable. Moreover, it must be noted that the BRI's reach to Latin America can be rather problematic due to the fact that the latter was not initially a participant.

Originality/value

The study aims to explore the significance of the BRI beyond the official discourse and discuss the involvement of LAC countries in it. Scholars studying the BRI in other regions have noted that there is not enough information on this policy in the context of LAC.

Details

Asian Education and Development Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-3162

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