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1 - Dialogus de Beijing Consensus

from PART I - Deconstructing the Beijing Consensus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2017

Michael W. Dowdle
Affiliation:
Associate Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law.
Mariana Mota Prado
Affiliation:
Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Graduate Program) at the Faculty of Law, the University of Toronto
Weitseng Chen
Affiliation:
National University of Singapore
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Summary

Prologue

Beijing Consensus was a term initially coined by Joshua Cooper Ramo in 2004, as a superior, and distinctly Asian, developmental model. Ramo's claim of a “Beijing Consensus” triggered much academic interest and resistance in the West, as some questioned whether the developmental policies Ramo's model prescribed accurately described China's path to economic development. In 2007, Randall Peerenboom, in a book titled China Modernizes: Threat to the West or Model for the Rest?, advanced what he termed an “East Asian Model,” which prioritizes economic reforms over liberal political reforms and is characterized by a distinctively gradualist approach to development. A couple years later, Dani Rodrik advanced a similar model – “New Development Economics.” Similar to the East Asian Model, it emphasizes pragmatism and experimentation and considers China's post-Mao development as its principal exemplar.

In this chapter, Pessimo (Dowdle) and Optimo (Prado) debate the merits and pitfalls of each of these instantiations of the idea of a consensus. We conclude – somewhat surprisingly – that it is in the discussion they generate, rather than in their substantive prescriptions, that the real value of these models lies.

On Joshua Ramo's Original Idea of a “Beijing Consensus”

Joshua Ramo introduced the term Beijing Consensus as a particular developmental strategy that was superior to the then still popular, but increasingly discredited, “Washington Consensus.” According to Ramo, the Beijing Consensus consists of “three theorems about how to organize the place of a developing country in the world.” We examine each theorem in turn.

On Ramo's First Theorem

“The first theorem repositions the value of innovation. Rather than the ‘old-physics’ argument that developing countries must start development with trailing-edge technology (copper wires), it insists that on [sic] the necessity of bleeding-edge innovation (fiber optic) to create change that moves faster than the problems change creates. In physics terms, it is about using innovation to reduce the friction losses of reform.”

Pessimo on Development as “Bleeding-Edge” Innovation

To me, this is just a buzzword salad. What does it mean to “create change that moves faster than the problems change creates”? What problems do copper wires cause that immediate transition to fiber optics outruns?

Type
Chapter
Information
The Beijing Consensus?
How China Has Changed Western Ideas of Law and Economic Development
, pp. 15 - 42
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2017

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  • Dialogus de Beijing Consensus
    • By Michael W. Dowdle, Associate Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law., Mariana Mota Prado, Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Graduate Program) at the Faculty of Law, the University of Toronto
  • Edited by Weitseng Chen, National University of Singapore
  • Book: The Beijing Consensus?
  • Online publication: 28 April 2017
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316481370.002
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  • Dialogus de Beijing Consensus
    • By Michael W. Dowdle, Associate Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law., Mariana Mota Prado, Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Graduate Program) at the Faculty of Law, the University of Toronto
  • Edited by Weitseng Chen, National University of Singapore
  • Book: The Beijing Consensus?
  • Online publication: 28 April 2017
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316481370.002
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Dialogus de Beijing Consensus
    • By Michael W. Dowdle, Associate Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law., Mariana Mota Prado, Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Graduate Program) at the Faculty of Law, the University of Toronto
  • Edited by Weitseng Chen, National University of Singapore
  • Book: The Beijing Consensus?
  • Online publication: 28 April 2017
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316481370.002
Available formats
×