Rising Powers in the Global Political Economy

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At the University of Nottingham, PhD students in the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies (Tracey Fallon) and the School of Politics and International Relations (Phil Roberts and Jon Marshall) organized a postgraduate conference on Rising Powers in the Global Political Economy in the beginning of July 2013.  Although we had remarkable sunshine outside the conference room, around 50 young scholars presented their projects in several panels. In the debate on Rising Powers, only limited attention (besides two papers on China in Africa) was placed on the interaction between Asian and African countries. Nevertheless, the debate on politics, economy and culture of India and China’s internal development provided an understanding of the mechanisms underlying interaction with other states. The purpose of this entry is not to recapitulate every single panel and paper but rather to highlight some common themes that accompanied us during the conference. In general, the presentations covered the political dimension of the Rising Powers from a macro level to a micro level, and some papers had a greater focus on the political economy dimension within the Rising Powers India and China clearly stood at the center of the research. The presentations highlighted the various dimensions of their political and economic success in the nation state, region, institutions and global capitalism. For instance, Dr. Indrajit Roy (University of Oxford) focused on how the Indian state manages inequality and poverty with a social welfare program. His question about inequality continued to be one key dimension in the debate. In the case of China, Romi Jain, who presented her paper via Skype from India, elaborated on the integration of China in the global political economy. In the case of the WTO, China is more guided by its national interests than global interests. On the other hand, Yang Jiang (Copenhagen Business School) came to a different conclusion in the case of bilateral agreements: global and national interests have to be connected.

The organizers chose the keynote lectures well for each day, as they covered the day’s debates in a general way. The first keynote speech was by Lawrence Saez (SOAS, London) and focused on the reasons that India is not a great power. One argument was that a great power should export weapons and not import them as India does. He supported his argument with various indexes for measuring political power with only limited connections to the capitalist mode of production. On another note, Shaun Breslin (Warwick)  gave a talk on China and the global order. He distances himself from the hegemonic terms of China as a Rising Power or a global power and argues for China as a regional power, being that China has a low international relations profile.  Both lectures led to heated debates among the participants that continued afterward the panel itself.




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