Neoliberalism and its Dominance
Neoliberalism is the elevation of capitalism as a mean of political imperative, mode of production, and cultural logic. Neoliberalism has dominated the globe since 1970 where it used reconstitution of states power to spread its ideologies. For neoliberalism to work, the influence of the state in the economy must be minimal, while the responsibility of the state to care for the welfare of its citizen must be diminished (Harvey 2).
Associated with Laissez-Faire Economics
Neoliberalism is usually associated with laissez-faire economics which proposes that for humans being to achieve progress, they must leave the work of resource allocation to the free market. The power gap between the American government and Chinese government decreases day by day, which means, the rise of China will most definitely reshape the international configuration. The economic growth of China has resulted in a decline in popularity of neoliberalism. In the contemporary world, neoliberalism is facing stiff competition from other ideologies including three from China. China must not take the road of neoliberalism since the 2008 economic crises in western countries did not just serve as an eye opener to China about neoliberalism, but it also created an opportunity to come up with a Chinese-led global order.
The Question of Political Values
At this point, I think the question is not if China should embrace neoliberalism. Instead, the problem is which political value will take on from neoliberalism in shaping the normative order of the world. China has several political principles all of which are very strong. Some of the values include economic pragmatism, Marxism and the traditional values (Yan 1). Over the years the Chinese government has been trying to merge the traditional values with Marxism. It is highly unlikely that such efforts will be enough to achieve the assigned target, the Chinese government needs to do more (Ware 49). Although neoliberalism is fading, it is an undeniable fact that it is still the most influential and cannot fall overnight.
Ideological competition is the first reason why China should not go the neoliberalism way. History has shown that it is hard for an ideology to last for more than three decades. Ideologies such as fascism, nationalism, and communism were all at one point elevated to the status of neoliberalism today. However, none of the ideologies’ influence on the modern international system can be compared to the impact of Confucianism on the ancient Chinese interstate system (Yan 2). Capitalism and communism were the only global ideologies that dominate the cold war period, the difference in ideologies between the two helped reshape the character of the international order at that time. The collapse of communism saw the rise of neoliberalism which influenced the global value system after the end of cold war. The 21st century, however, has not favored neoliberalism since it has continued to falter in the last ten years. Indeed, this means that if China chooses to go the neoliberalism way, it will be joining an already faltering ideology. In my opinion, it is more accurate to say neoliberalism needs China for it to survive and not the other way round.
The Decline of Neoliberalism
The decline in neoliberalism in both western and non-western countries is another reason why China should keep off from neoliberalism. Most people now believe that the decrease in popularity of neoliberalism is not only an indication to an end of a war (cold war), but it is also an indication of man’s ideological evolution. 2016 was a very decisive year in regards to neoliberalism since anti-establishmentarianism became relevant in a significant way. Donald Trump 2016 election victory was a huge blow to neoliberalism since the triumph showed neoliberalism is less dominant than it was the previous years (Yan 4). The reasons for decline in liberalism in the west countries are different from those of the non-western states. The neoliberalism decline in European countries is primarily because of inability by the democratic governments to solve the financial crisis that almost crippled European economies in 2008. The American democracy is currently fragile since it is facing complacence, in fact, most youth in the country no longer believe that democracy can help make their lives better.
Decline of Neoliberalism in Non-Western Countries
America is not the only country dealing with this problem since nations such as New Zealand and Australia are experiencing a significant decline in neoliberalism. A statistics targeting the European millennials showed that only 32% of all millennials in the European countries thinks democracy should be included in the fast five most essential values of a nation (Yan 4). On the other hand, the reason why neoliberalism has declined in the non-western countries is that there is constant comparison being done between the western nations and the rapidly growing state such as China. The recent years have proved that the Chinese communist form of government is better adapted to improve the livelihood of its citizens. The people from developing countries cannot help themselves but admire the Chinese national priorities which pay more attention to future investment and prefers less democratic government. A survey done in the year 2011 showed that about 50 % of the total millennials favored strong leaders rather than elections and democratic parliament (Yan 4). Also, most non-western countries have discovered that there is an element of a double standard in the western states foreign policies. For instance, the policies of America and its allies towards the Arab countries does not in any way show the professed goals to promote neoliberalism ideologies in those countries.
Emergence of Other Ideologies
There are several already competing ideologies in China which means any attempt by China to incorporate neoliberalism in the country will be utterly adding a failing ideology in the race to dominance. It is evident that the decline in neoliberalism creates an opportunity for the emergence of other stronger ideologies. Judging by the current situation in the world, the successor of neoliberalism is likely to come from a country with higher economic and political power than America. In the next ten years, China seems to be the only country capable of reducing the power disparity between America and Itself and become a superpower (Harvey 152). It is undeniable that the image of China among the democratic nations has improved, in fact, they regard China as a country of opportunity and prosperity, the same way the Europeans once did America.
China's Ideological Decision
In 2017, the Chinese Communist Party dispatched delegates to spread the party’s programs and ideologies to the world. However, the project was not much of a success since there was no anonymity. For instance, the opinion and doctrines that the Chinese Communist Party was trying to introduce to the world are not shared by the ordinary citizens. The Communist Party use Marxism as their official ideology. However, it is limited when it comes to foreign policies (Ware 149). The reason why China is usually reluctant to use Marxism in its foreign systems is that the thinking is based on the class struggle which means a push of this ideology by the Chinese government would only portray it as much more aggressive.
Economic Pragmatism and Diplomatic Changes
Economic pragmatism scores higher when compared to Marxism since it accepted by the ordinary persons and the government. Economic pragmatism is usually concerned with the country's economic progress, and since the last seven years have been doing very well economically, the ideology has gained roots (Ware 152). In the recent years, the Chinese government has changed its diplomatic posture where it poses as a major power and not as an ordinary power. In what may be seen as an attempt to promote the Chinese ideologies and rule out the possibility of adopting neoliberalism, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi explained the changes in China’s diplomacy approach using the ancient Chinese philosophy in the 2013 World Peace Forum.
The Search for a New Ideology
Ruling out neoliberalism, the next ideology that is likely to become mainstream global value must have a modernized principle that pays much attention to humane authority. Although there is a difference between benevolent power and neoliberalism, the two still have similar core values. For an ideology to achieve a universal adoption, there has to be a constancy between the country ’s indigenous doctrines and the ideologies it pushes to the outside world, and that is where China’s problem lies since they have not explicitly outlined which thinking to promote. Nevertheless, China cannot afford to move the neoliberalism way since it will be simply giving up an opportunity to become a superpower.
Harvey, David. A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford University Press, USA, 2007.
Ware, Robert. "Reflections on Chinese Marxism." Socialism and Democracy
27.1 (2013): 136-160.
Yan, Xuetong. "Chinese Values vs. Liberalism: What Ideology Will Shape the International Normative Order?" The Chinese Journal of International Politics, vol. 11, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1-22.