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History Matters: China and Global Governance

  • Wendy Dobson


    (University of Toronto)

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    This paper focuses on the two-way relationship between China and the international economic system. China’s embrace of the global institutions and their rules and norms helped guide its spectacular economic growth and integration into the world economy. China’s impact on the global economic order is still an open question, however. Its sheer size and dynamism makes it a force to be reckoned with. So far its influence has been largely constructive but recent signs of assertiveness raise questions about the future. History matters to the answer. Memories of both historical pre-eminence and humiliation drive nationalism and assertiveness at the same time that China identifies with developing countries as a counterbalance rather than as a leader or enforcer of the global norms and rules. The paper evaluates China’s role in the regional and global economic institutions by applying this criterion of economic cooperation: is China willing to modify national policies in recognition of international economic interdependence? The evidence presented is mixed reflecting the complexities of China’s modernization and re-emergence. China actively supports the order in some forums, shows passivity in others yet in still others increasingly asserts its own interests regardless of the global rules. The paper draws conclusions and future implications of this new ‘normal’.

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    Paper provided by Rotman Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto in its series Working Papers Series with number 20.

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    Length: 30 Pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2011
    Date of revision: Jan 2011
    Handle: RePEc:ttp:iibwps:20
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    1. Angus Maddison, 2006. "Asia in the World Economy 1500-2030 AD," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 20, pages 1-37, November.
    2. Wendy Dobson & Paul R. Masson, 2007. "Will the Renminbi Become a World Currency?," Working Papers Series 10, Rotman Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised Dec 2007.
    3. Kawai, Masahiro & Wignaraja, Ganeshan, 2011. "Asian FTAs: Trends, prospects and challenges," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-22, February.
    4. Theodore H. Moran, 2010. "China's Strategy to Secure Natural Resources: Risks, Dangers, and Opportunities," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa92.
    5. Wendy DOBSON, 2009. "Window of Opportunity Opens: Asian and American Views of the International Economic Architecture," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 4(2), pages 271-287.
    6. Kawai, Masahiro & Petri, Peter, 2010. "Asia's Role in the Global Economic Architecture," ADBI Working Papers 235, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    7. Wendy Dobson & Anil K. Kashyap, 2006. "The Contradiction in China's Gradualist Banking Reforms," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(2), pages 103-162.
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