China's Post-Listian Rise: Beyond Radical Globalisation Theory and the Political Economy of Neoliberal Hegemony

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While China's rise has been much discussed, its meaning continues to be contested. This is true in radical international political economy, where, for example, it was the subject of (often polarised) debates between Giovanni Arrighi and David Harvey prior to Arrighi's death in 2009. This reflected a broader debate in IPE between development theory and radical globalisation analysis. The key point of contention is whether China's rise represents a challenge to or further consolidation of neoliberal hegemony on a global scale. This article critically scrutinises some of the key assumptions of the radical globalisation approach, specifically, that China represents another form of the 'competition state' whose development aspirations have been radically constrained by global 'new constitutionalism' and American monetary power so as to conform to neoliberalism. Deploying a structurationist approach to global governance and an eclectic/regulatory analysis of the Chinese state, I argue that China has challenged neoliberalism by projecting its growing power through constitutionalised global governance. In the face of (declining) American power, global constitutionalism has provided an opportunity structure that may help China consolidate its long-term strategy of consensual development. Far from anchoring 'neoliberal hegemony', global economic governance is increasingly central to its unravelling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-559
Number of pages21
JournalNew Political Economy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


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