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The End of the “Liberal Theory of History”? Dissecting the U.S. Congress’ Discourse on China’s Currency Policy

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  • Nicola Nymalm

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    (GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies)

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    Abstract

    In the last ten years, economic issues related to currency policy have become the major ongoing dispute between China and the U.S. Especially the U.S. Congress is stridently demanding a tougher policy to avert the negative consequences for the U.S. economy of “unfair” Chinese policies in the form of a “manipulated currency.” Building on an analytical framework of discourse theory (DT)—and furthermore proposing a method for applying DT in empirical research— an investigation of the congressional debates on the Chinese currency shows that the question is not a purely economic one, but that it reflects a dislocation of U.S. identity as the vanguard of liberal-democratic capitalism. This implicates changes in regard to how “liberal” identity in the U.S. is constructed in relation to the role attributed to “illiberal” China, which in turn affects the formulation of China policy by the U.S. Congress.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in its series GIGA Working Paper Series with number 170.

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    Length: 30 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:170

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    Keywords: China; U.S. Congress; economy; currency; identity; liberalism; discourse theory; discourse analysis;

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    1. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Yee Wong & Ketki Sheth, 2006. "US-China Trade Disputes: Rising Tides Rising Stakes," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa78.
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