The China Factor: Economic vulnerability and global resilience
This M.A. thesis makes use of the concept and methodology of vulnerability, ‘state capacity’ theory, and Robert Wade’s ‘Wheels Within Wheels’ argument to assess the role of China within the modern global economy. The thesis draws upon the repeated identification of China as a possible global systemic risk by the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Network as a starting point, with the goal of determining why and how China would be identified in such a way, what elements support such an identification, and to what extent China’s economy might indeed represent a source of vulnerability in the global economic system. The thesis analyzes two key Chinese economic sectors: currency and reserve policy, and the domestic banking sector. Six broad vulnerability vectors are ultimately identified. The thesis concludes that, while China may represent a source of vulnerability in the global economy, it also represents a potentially strong source of resilience due to its unique economic system that emphasizes the role of the state.