The Financial Crisis and a Crisis of Expertise: A Chinese Genealogy of Neoliberalism

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

The paper investigates the distinctly Chinese intertwining of expertise and state & financial capital to enrich the current understanding of neoliberalism as a hegemonic governing rationale. Since the summer of 2015, China has been experiencing one of its most severe financial crises since the adoption of a ‘socialist market economy’ in 1978. However, globally circulating narratives have failed to look beyond a Western-centric corollary, rehashing a critique of the Chinese one-party system and its lack of a ‘genuine’ free market. By exploring the specific genealogy of Chinese capitalism, and the distinctive Chinese financial-market structure, the article will show how the scientific authority of experts formulated amongst neoliberal thinkers never permeated the Chinese idea of knowledge. In the Chinese variety of financial capitalism, expertise is seen to lie not so much in the wisdom of individual experts as in their socio-political support, which legitimises their economic interventions.

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