The last few years have witnessed radical global fractures. The neoliberal globalization model of free markets and liberal democracy are in crisis. State-directed investment in “sovereign capacity” is in full swing whilst commitment to global regulatory systems is in retreat. The UN system has been marginalised as new security-driven alliances proliferate. The “radical centre” is under siege whilst emergent political voices confuse epochal distinctions of Right and Left, alternating between dangerous volatility and abject passivity. As the climate emergency begins to bite, global cooperation has given way to talk of mutually assured destruction (MAD).
This conference will focus on one key dimension of the global crisis: the attempt to “de-couple” the western dominated part of the global economy from that controlled by China. The de-coupling or de-risking strategy may have strong economic motivations, but ultimately the stakes are geopolitical. The US-led West seeks to limit China’s rise to global economic prominence, along with the military-political influence this inevitably brings with it. China meanwhile claims to be a victim of encirclement and proclaims its desire for a peaceful rise. This is at a moment when the “Global South”, especially in Latin America, Africa, and the Pacific Islands, are less “aligned” with the West than at any time in the last 30 years.
How are we to interpret this dangerous situation?
· Is de-coupling – or the alternative “de-risking” – actually taking place, or is it rhetoric?
· If it is happening, how and where is it happening, and what consequences does it bring?
· How will de-coupling affect our response to common global challenges, such as climate change, green transition, biodiversity?
· Are we heading towards a confrontation between China and the US-led West that will destroy us all?
· Or is there a compromise that negotiates co-existence?
· How might we imagine a solution that points in the direction of peace instead of war?
· Is there any Left left regarding China?
· How should we respond to the fractures and possible turmoils ahead?
· How do both the elite and people in the street in the Global South feel and deal with this global confrontation and fracturing?
The conference will take place online on Thursday, 7th December 2023. To accommodate participation from around the globe, it will take place in two sessions, 8 am-12 noon and 6 pm-10 pm.
Please send a short abstract and contact details to Dr Baohui Xie () by Sunday, 10th September 2023.
A paper collection of this conference will be published, hopefully, by Palgrave
Mobo Gao, the University of Adelaide
Justin O’Connor, the University of South of Australia
Baohui Xie, the University of Adelaide
Jack Butcher, the University of Adelaide