China and the Global South: The Question of Hegemony

Talk by Ho-fung Hung, Johns Hopkins University

Thursday, May 03, 2018
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Bunche Hall 10383

Many see the Chinese economic miracle as an illustration of an alternative model of development to the neoliberal orthodoxy. It is also assumed that China’s increasing economic and political involvement in the Global South, from its Asia neighbors to countries in faraway developing regions, challenge American domination. In this paper, I argue that China’s export-oriented developmental miracle is in fact a constitutive part of the global neoliberal order, and is made possible by unique conditions difficult to be replicated in other places. At the same time, China’s overseas economic interests is still relatively small if we discount capital flight in the outgoing flow of investment. Having that said, China’s rise as a capital exporter is still making it follow the footstep of preceding capitalist-hegemonic powers to protect its global economic interests by learning to project its political influence overseas. Having been a free rider in the US-centered global order for decades, mastering the skill of exercising its political and military muscle on the global stage effectively is going to be a long process for China.

Ho-Fung Hung is an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Sociology. His scholarly interest includes global political economy, protest, nation-state formation, and social theory, with a focus on East Asia. He received my bachelor degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, my MA degree from SUNY-Binghamton, and my PhD degree in Sociology from Johns Hopkins. His articles have appeared in American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Development and Change, New Left Review, Asian Survey, Sociological Theory, Review of International Political Economy, etc. His works have been translated into six different languages, and featured or cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, BBC World News, Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil), Expresso (Portugal), Straits Times (Singapore), South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Xinhua Monthly (China), and others.