Globalization and advancement in technology has resulted in the governments taking a back seat as regards shaping the destiny of its people. The increased capacities of individuals do not seem to provide any point of refuge. The most difficult thing from this situation is the fact that the new political agenda being championed for the millennium is not well documented for.
The book China and Globalization presents an in-depth analysis of the political, economic and social transformations that the Chinese society and state went through over the past thirty years. The author argues that the rise of China throughout this period has been propelled through the dynamic geopolitical environment as a result of community building efforts that enhance economic cooperation CITATION Gut09 l 1033 (Guthrie, 2009).
A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey aims to find out the goals of neoliberalism and presents a useful explanation on why neoliberal policies do not always follow neoliberal theory. Harvey simply considers this new form of political economy as a means through which the global economic elite reconstitutes the high class power CITATION Har05 l 1033 (Harvey, 2005). He states that elite power often takes precedence in the event of a conflict with the contemporary neoliberalism economic principles. Harvey’s book is a powerful tool for analyzing the accumulation by deficiency concept.
Doug emphasizes that this has been the foundation to the facilitation and eventual institutionalization of China’s economic integration. This argument is quite a challenge of David Harvey’s neo liberal argument that the rises of neo liberal economies like the United States and capitalist China is the cornerstone of an intended project to restore the noble power. According to Doug, the rise of Chinese revolution is “the result of methodical and careful government policies” (p 8). The fundamental element basis of Doug’s argument lies in her view that the successful revolution of China was because it was gradual and was led by the state. She states that China’s propagation of bilateral PTA’s is a “necessary intermediate step toward a seamless integration into a pan regional framework” (Guthrie p.15). This argument, though quite an optimistic and bold claim by Doug Guthrie is in contrast to David Harvey who argues that the propagation of bilateral PTAs is an emasculation to region building in Asia. David Harvey’s sanguine view is that most bilateral PTAs are merely destabilizing to regional cooperation owing to the fact that most bilateral PTAs are strategically or politically driven. The Chinese government led by Deng Xiaoping introduced reforms that allowed the actors of the economy to master the rules of capitalism rather than making assumptions and withdrawing perceptions based on intuitions CITATION Gut09 l 1033 (Guthrie, 2009). Incentives were stimulated by granting autonomy to the local government. Currently, foreign investors in China deal with provincial bureaucracy and build long term alliances rather than the central government. Guthrie points out that the crucial underlying mechanisms that boosted a much freer Chinese environment were the autonomy of individuals at the workplaces and the depletion of monitoring capacity of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Individuals no longer had to depend on their superiors or work units despite the fact that there was a major rise in corruption among local officials. The results of such reforms were the evolution of an independent middle class that was economically secure. High rewards were offered to holders of foreign language skills and university degrees and the access to female education increased. Guthrie advocates for China to engage strongly with the United States in order to acquire grander external motivation as a way to overcome domestic hindrances. However, her assertion that a futurist state can better engineer changes from socialism raises questions as to whether or not developing countries can only grow by enforcing autocratic policies CITATION Gut09 l 1033 (Guthrie, 2009).
David Harvey argues that while neoliberal economies may boast of allowing the free market to take its course, government intervention and regulation only comes into place when it is beneficial to economic elites. Thus from a neoliberal perspective, environmental and labor regulations by the government always lead to inefficiency by distorting free market price mechanisms CITATION Har05 l 1033 (Harvey, 2005). In his opinion, the main aim of neoliberalism was not wealth increase but wealth redistribution and uses statistics to explain this phenomenon. Harvey’s argument is supported by the decrease of real wages in the poorer sectors of neoliberal economies like the United States and the massive wealth increases of the economic elite. In his view, Harvey refers to this type of wealth distribution as accumulation by dispossession and goes on to state that this is how neoliberalism has managed to redistribute wealth and considers it a transition to the onset of capitalism. Among the main aspects of this one sided wealth redistribution are monetization, privatization, state redistributions, commodification and the management by manipulation of crises.
Harvey presents a brief history of neoliberalism where he point out that before its existence the political economy was dominated by embedded liberalism which was a form of capitalism. His assumption of neoliberalism is that it is quite extremist in its operation and if unchecked will be unruly because of socialism failure to develop a reliable model. The pretense by socialism as a means of management of the state and its people without any form of intervention of market forces results in social destruction CITATION Har05 l 1033 (Harvey, 2005). He is attached to this political tradition of democratic capitalism. His view is that of economic restructuring for the development of the people in general. To this effect, Harvey fails to understand why the way of doing things in neoliberal economies is more prominent across the globe even though they embrace democratic capitalism.
The push and pull between the two ideologies of Guthrie and Harvey could be attributed to economic growth witnessed across the globe in this period. Harvey asserts in his writing that neoliberalism to some extent does not meet up its expectations by the people. The win by embedded neoliberalism according to him was not a stable environment to create a socially stable environment. Both authors present vague points at some point. Doug Guthrie believes that China is taking baby steps to becoming a capitalist nation and therefore the way to remain economically viable is through slow transition from a command to market economy. Guthrie in totality misses the whole idea that democracy and growth in newly industrialized countries have an inverse relationship. David Harvey on the other hand fails to clearly highlight the main economic policies of neoliberalism. From the review of the different aspects of the books by Harvey and Guthrie, it is indeed difficult to exactly point a celebration of the past century with the misery related to the so many ideologies that have not been successful in the long run. The books depict a situation of melancholy with the authors coming to terms so late in agreeing with the disadvantages related to these ideologies and their lack of appreciation of the one ideology that has revealed the aspirations of human and has been able to change to the different circumstances of life as it is.
Guthrie, D. (2009). China and Globalization: The Social, Economic and Political Transformation of Chinese Society. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Harvey, D. (2005). A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.