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Xin Zhang:Chinese Capitalism and the Maritime Silk Road: A World-Systems Perspective

来源:Taylor & Francis Online



As China tries to catch up from a semi-peripheral status in the hierarchy of a capitalist world-system, three decades of fast economic growth have recently shown serious signs of capital glut, overproduction and decreasing returns to capital, indicating the beginning of a phase of contraction and stagnation in the long-cycles of capitalist accumulation. The combination of “capital logic” and “territorial logic” in Giovanni Arrighi’s framework gives both the Chinese state and Chinese capital strong incentives and pressure to actively engage in a “spatial fix” by reconfiguring its geographic vision in order to further capital accumulation and expansion on a larger spatial dimension, culminating in the “One Belt, One Road” Initiative, including the Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI). The official promotion of the MSRI hopes to revitalise the historical precedents of the “Silk Road” so that the modern-day hyper-connectivity across Asia, Africa and Europe will facilitate the formation of a China-led reorganised world economy, operating under open and equal participation, possibly leading to common development for all countries involved. However, the nature and impact of such a grandiose initiative, especially its core mission of “connectivity”, is still highly contingent on the hybrid nature of Chinese capitalism in the world-system and how China engages capitalism at the global scale.