Chinese globalization



The Chinese are not interested in the burden of being a hegemon. But it is important to polarize the debate on global governance

“Our circle of friends will always be in the Third World. Remember: the developed countries of the West will not ask us to play and, in their eyes, they will always have a 'superiority complex'. The West will always despise our values ​​and consider China as 'backward'. In the eyes of Westerners, there will always be 'differences between East and West'. Do not think that you can integrate into the Western world, nor do you naively think that you can (Wang Yi, Chancellor of the People's Republic of China).

On October 18th, a large meeting was held, the backdrop of which was the celebration of ten years of the Belt and Road Initiative. The vast majority of heads of state and government from the Global South were present at the event, with emphasis on the permanent presence of Vladimir Putin alongside Xi Jinping at the most varied moments of the meeting. There are a series of questions that intellectuals interested in the changing dynamics that mark our historical moment must answer. One of them involves the so-called “globalization”, its decline or the emergence of another kind of globalization, this one already under the auspices of Eurasia and China, in particular.

Let's see.

Another kind of globalization

In September 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the outline of what was called at the time the “Silk Road Economic Belt”, currently the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI). Since then, 154 countries have formally joined the project with around US$1 trillion having been invested in almost every continent in the world. Ten years after the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative, the world finds itself facing a series of discussions, including that of a so-called “deglobalization” – accelerated by the exposure of historic US protectionism and an attempt to cancel China from the market global supply chain for semiconductor infrastructures. This process has indeed brought cracks to the pre-existing pattern of globalization, but does it mean the beginning of “deglobalization”?

The pattern of globalization inaugurated by the United States since the end of the Second World War and which has taken on other forms, called “financialized”, since the end of the 1970s, dragging the world – and China in particular – towards new institutional frameworks across the board. type and by new territorial arrangements based both on the speed with which capital leaves and enters countries and on the reorganization of the world's industrial geography. Low inflation in the USA has become synonymous with Made in China. What the policymakers Americans never imagined is that the man who included China in the world capitalist economy was previously a hero of the Long March (1934-1935) and not one of his appointees in South Korea or Japan. We refer to Deng Xiaoping.


In around 40 years, financialization has eroded the US's ability to periodically reinvent itself. Its almost unbeatable military machine, being tested more times in a decade than in the entire Cold War, contrasted with a society increasingly fractured by social inequality. On the other hand, with each new financial crisis, the distance between China and the United States becomes smaller.

In the last four decades, the country has built “three immense machines”: the exchange value construction machine (transforming it into a world machine), a financial machine (transforming it into the largest net creditor in the world) and a value construction machine. of use (in 20 years the country built 42 thousand km of high-speed trains, becoming the largest exporter of public goods in infrastructure in human history).

It is at this point that we must question the so-called “deglobalization”. Globalization would not be taking place with China as a promoter based both on the incorporation movement of Russia as a sovereign part of its economic territory and on the physical integration of the world with infrastructures based on large installed productive and state capacity and on public banks (creators of fiat currency ), placing in third and fourth plans the indebtedness of the recipients of these investments to the detriment of greater Chinese protagonism and even regional powers such as South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia and perhaps Brazil?

On the other hand, if there is globalization with Chinese characteristics and if any globalization process can also be defined by the values ​​shared by the gravitational pole, what can we expect from Chinese-style globalization? The social and human sciences do not have testing laboratories like the hard sciences. Therefore, many answers are placed in the field of history. In this sense, given the weight exerted by the Chinese productive (non-financialized) economy in the world, this “globalization” will redesign a new international division of labor, as China begins to export its prosperity. This export already occurs to a certain extent in the same proportion as a given country is able to plan its economy based on the trends created by China. That's one point.

Another point is multipolarity. The Chinese are not interested in the burden of being a hegemon. But it is important to polarize the debate on global governance. For example, for China, the trend towards unipolarity would replace that related to the various poles of power. The values ​​of this process are in dispute. The USA talks about a “new world order” (sic). China launches three major “Global Initiatives”, namely: (i) global development; (ii) global security; and (iii) global civilization.

We can affirm that Chinese governance revamped the principles of the famous Bandung Conference (1955), with the addition of the “internationalization of factors” by placing almost the responsibility for safeguarding a world marked by tensions of multiple orders on the Global South. It is a dialectical relationship between the future and the Global South, because as the epigraph written by the head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry announces, China's friends are in the Third World.

*Elias Jabbour He is a licensed professor at the Faculty of Economic Sciences at UERJ and director of research at the BRICS+ New Development Bank (NDB). He is the author, among other books, together with Alberto Gabriele, of China: Socialism in the XNUMXst Century (Boitempo). []

Originally published in the magazine International Observatory of the XNUMXst Century, November 2023 edition.

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