The Emerging Political Economy of the 21st Century: The New Rise of China, Neoliberalism, and Neocolonialism
In conformity with the main theme of the joint project, “Conflict, Justice, and Decolonization”, Subproject III focuses primarily on the emerging global political economy in relation to the new rise of China and its increasing influence on Asia and emerging nations of the world.
From the aftermath of the Cold War era to the 21st century, in an era of global capitalism and neoliberal policy, China’s rapid rise has led to a restructuring of global political economy and the realignment of regional security in East and Southeast Asia. This economic and political restructuring is built on a pre-existing history of colonial formations as well as complex identity conflicts. This development has produced an unequal power structure and engendered hidden injuries of neo-colonialism. This involves also a critical re-evaluation of prevailing theoretical paradigms.
To engage with the changing political economic framework in the 21st century, Subproject III uses global comparative approaches to study various phenomena and themes, such as cultural identity, capital flows, market economy, relations of production, Asian financial crisis, regional security, and popular discourse. In particular, we are concerned with developing nations in the world, which include Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America.
In the first two years, we organized international conferences and symposiums, covering issues such as “Belt and Road: Globalization of China’s Political Economy”, “Egalitarianism and Inequality”, ‘’Neoliberalism in Relation to China” and “Sinophobia in the Rise of China”. Through them, we had intellectual exchanges with scholars from Europe, Australia, South America, and Mainland China on a range of case studies, which provided a basis to reflect on the prevailing theories, which are a relevant prerequisite for future comparative analysis.
In the 3rd to 5th years, we will focus more on concrete comparative analysis. We hope to develop a meaningful platform for comparing the influence of this Chinese global political economy in different regions of Northeast and Southeast Asia in contrast to Central Asia, Africa and South America in a way that transcends sterile orthodox disciplinary debates.
Each subproject contributes to linked parts of the research problematic of the joint project:
Subproject III “The Emerging Political Economy of the 21st Century: The New Rise of China, Neoliberalism, and Neocolonialism” is different from other research projects. Without doubt, the rise of China has been an important phenomenon that is intimately linked with the local situation in Taiwan and the globalized world thus typically exceeds the scope of any single research project. More importantly, this subproject emphasizes that the existing academic understandings and interpretations of this contemporary crisis have been problematic and need to be questioned and reexamined. We propose two urgent problematics regarding this crisis: one is the theoretical debate about neoliberalism, and the other is the politics of the “One Belt One Road” policy and the worldview it espouses. The first problematic concerns the basic cultural model of China’s politico-economic system (abstract operation that relies on collusion of market economy, national hegemony, and neo-nationalism); the second one involves China’s practices of global order. While mainstream academic debates are mired in disciplinary disputes and local analyses in a narrow sense, we have been emphasizing interdisciplinary and cross-regional research models to challenge conventional arguments and theoretical perspectives, in order to develop alternative thematic approaches and research methods. This subproject proceeds in two stages: the first stage focuses on a critical rethinking of the existing literature and state of knowledge. The various conferences we have organized, such as “Egalitarianism and Inequality,” “Belt and Road: Globalization of China’s Political Economy,” “Neoliberalism in Relation to China,” and “Sinophobia in the Rise of China” aim at transcending the inherent flaws of prevailing social scientific studies and sterile orthodox discussions of politics, policies, economies, and public discourses. This will hopefully establish a platform on which concrete research projects can be designed and carried out during the second stage. Research outcomes that result from this subproject will continue to be published on an ongoing basis in line with the stages mentioned above.
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