Aug 17, 2021 • 1HR 36M

Neoliberalism's end + "China": Jake Werner

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A podcast about Asia, Asian America, and life during the Coronavirus pandemic, featuring Jay Caspian Kang, Tammy Kim, and Andy Liu.
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Crab fishing in Caofeidian, a near empty “ghost city” in Hebei, China, built with billions of RMB in bank loans doled out in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash and the Chinese state’s stimulus package. Photo by Gilles Sabrié.

Hello from a Chinese ghost city!

It’s just Andy this week, speaking with my friend academic-activist Jake Werner (@jwdwerner) on how to make sense of the current ideological shift in US and global politics and especially the hostile rhetoric between US and Chinese elites.

(0:00) We talk about the recent spate of “big spending” bills pushed by Biden and the Democrats, supporting infrastructure (“hard” and “soft”) and industrial policy. Is this a break from “neoliberal” ideology? And also, what was “neoliberalism” about anyway?

(17:40) Some of the biggest proponents for new, big-government programs are also the loudest critics of China and Chinese competition. What’s going on with purported leftists who supported Bernie but are hawkish on China? And is that really so bad?

(45:40) We discuss a different way of thinking about China today on its own terms, reviewing its tumultuous 40-year encounter with a US-centered global system and what changed in 2008. How can we eschew approaches centered “national” and “cultural essence” and instead look at shared global dynamics between China, the US, and the rest of the world? (Jake outlined these ideas recently in this talk).

(1:13:20) Finally, Jake’s pitch for “progressive globalization,” something he is fighting for through his organization Justice is Global (along with friend of the show Tobita Chow!). Why is the US-China relationship so crucial for the next phase in world history, from climate change to Covid to equitable growth? What’s the response in DC? How can listeners become more active? (also: tankies catching strays)

Some pieces by Jake:

“Only the Left can Save Globalization Now,” with Eric Levitz, New York Magazine (2021)

“U.S.-China: Progressive Internationalist Strategy Under Biden” Rosa-Luxemburg Stiftung with Tobita Chow (2021)

“Why Confrontation With China Threatens the Progressive Agenda,” The Nation (2019)

“China is cheating at a rigged game,” Foreign Affairs (2018)

And recommended reading from Jake: “The US-China Rivalry Is About Capitalist Competition” by Ho-Fung Hung, Jacobin (2020)

note: I tried to edit out the sounds of sickness throughout, but some had to be left in, sorry! It’s not Covid, I swear!

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