Neoliberalism and the Economics of Transition: Contrasting Russia and China

1 May 2018, 12:00 - 14:00

Seminar room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Isabella Weber (Goldsmiths)
Tobias Rupprecht (Exeter)

 


Abstracts

Tobias Rupprecht
Pinochet in Prague. Latin American Neoliberalism and (Post-)Socialist Eastern Europe.

After stepping down as Chilean president in 1990, Augusto Pinochet, still comandante-en-jefe of the Chilean Army until 1998, turned into an avid traveller around the world. As the former dictator had developed into a potent symbol of Cold War anti-communism, authoritarianism, and market radicalism, his visits usually made a great stir. While he faced much resistance and even legal persecution in Western Europe, Pinochet enjoyed an astonishing degree of popularity across postsocialist Eastern Europe, where, for some, his 'Chilean model' had become a source of inspiration for an authoritarian path of modernisation of their own countries. Indeed, an Eastern European interest in Latin American political economy predated the fall of state socialism. The geography and chronology of the 'neoliberal revolution' in Eastern Europe may thus need some rethinking: the global spread and implementation of neoliberal ideas from the 1970s was not exclusively a Western-led phenomenon.

 

Isabella Weber
China’s Encounters with Neoliberalism: Escaping a ‘Big Bang’ and Embracing the Market

China is found both to be neoliberal and criticized for not obeying to the rules of neoliberal globalization. To illuminate the origins of this contradiction this paper analyses China’s relationship with neoliberalism from a historical and economic theory perspective. It is shown how the break with Maoism in the context of the deep economic crisis of the 1970s and the subsequent turn to a primacy of economic development and reform opened the door for foreign economists, including neoliberals. Yet, while neoliberal doctrines were vigorously promoted by foreign and Chinese economists their effectiveness was debunked in the great reform debate of the 1980s. China groped out its own distinct gradual embrace of the market and rejected the key tenet of neoliberal transition doctrine: a ‘big bang’ in price reform. Instead of liberalizing prices overnight, China drew on its bureaucratic tradition to pursue a dual-track system. In hindsight, not implementing a ‘big bang’ was a necessary condition for China’s growth success and was critical for China’s distinct development path. At the same time, China’s embrace of the market led to the integration of China into the global division of labor and China became an important player within neoliberal globalization.

 

 

Open to all.  No registration required
Part of The Politics of Economics Research Group Seminar Series

Administrative assistance: gradfac@crassh.cam.ac.uk