By Randall Peerenboom
Sharply contrasting perspectives of China exist at the present time; one among a emerging superpower, and the opposite of an anachronistic, authoritarian regime. So that is the genuine China? Randall Peerenboom bargains a debatable, first-hand account of recent China targeting its financial, political and criminal attributes in the context of the constructing international.
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Extra info for China Modernizes: Threat to the West or Model for the Rest?
Even the World Bank has acknowledged that not all has gone according to plan: ‘All past episodes of surges in capital ﬂows to emerging markets have ended in severe international ﬁnancial crises. ’46 The failure of so many countries to achieve sustained economic growth has caused reformers in developing countries to reconsider the wisdom of dogmatic adherence to neoliberal economic principles and the WC, to reject the assumption that one-size-ﬁts-all in terms of democracy, human rights, rule of law and institutional reforms in favor of a more contextual approach, and to question the motives of the rich in pushing the poor to remake themselves in the image of contemporary Euro-America.
Champions of the afﬁrmative view of modernity and the superiority of Euro-American institutions, practices, and values rushed to attribute the ﬁnancial crisis to cronyism, bad governance, and the very same ‘Asian values’ that were considered earlier to be one of the reasons for success. ’2 Meanwhile, the fall of Suharto and subsequent democratization in Indonesia, the strengthening of democracy in Thailand, and the higher pre-crisis growth rates in the Philippines put advocates of the view that a strong (soft-authoritarian) ruling regime was necessary to ensure economic growth and stability on the defensive.
More fundamentally, each country faces unique challenges and opportunities. Along the way, many particular choices are made. Some institutions gain power, some lose power; some segments of society are made better off as a result of reforms, others are made worse off. Accordingly, the story of modernization or law and development in any given country is inevitably a story of politics—and largely local politics at that. Thus, it is not likely that any single model will apply everywhere. At minimum, the model would need to be adapted in light of local conditions.