China - Neoliberalism’s Last Hope?

Just two days before the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, China was trying to position itself as the leader of the neoliberal world.

That's right - China!

Speaking at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, Chinese president Xi Jinping gave a speech that many are saying could mark a turning point in how China works with the rest of the world - or at least how it presents itself to the rest of the world.

In that speech, the Chinese President warned against a trade war, and said that the world must remain "committed" to so-called free trade.

He also said China would stand firm in support of these ideas - even if other countries wavered in their support of them.

We must remain committed to developing the global free trade and investment, promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment through opening up and saying no to protectionism.... China will keep its door wide open to the world and will not close it. An open door allows other countries to access China's market and China itself to integrate with the world. And we hope other countries will keep their door open to Chinese investors

President Xi never mentioned Donald Trump by name in that speech but it was clear he was talking about him and what he represents: a sign that the neoliberal world order is in serious crisis.

But is that necessarily a bad thing?

If an authoritarian regime like China can posture as the defender of neoliberalism and so-called free trade - is it really a system worth saving?

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