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‘Belt and Road’ promotes an inclusive globalized world
Author :  Liu Weidong Source : Chinese Social Sciences Today 2017-01-07
In 2016, as the international situation went through radical changes, more and more people believe that the “One Belt and One Road” framework is becoming a platform for deepening globalization and reforming mechanisms so as to create an inclusive globalized world.
Brexit, the US presidential election and other events reflected the rise of populism and protectionism, a sign of neoliberalism in the world coming to an end after expansion over the past 30 years. The expansion of neoliberalism created severe social conflicts which are closely related with its inherent contradictions: Capital is capable of crossborder flows while labor is not, resulting in the fact that some countries can make profit while others cannot.
According to statistics from Oxfam, in 2016, the wealth owned by the wealthiest 1 percent of the global population surpassed the wealth held by the other 99 percent of the population. Therefore, in the process of the global spread of neoliberalism, those who own capital are the winners while society paid the price, and this is the main reason why the international community has doubt about globalization and also the key to understanding the unexpected results of the aforementioned events.
Against this backdrop, it is pressing to increase equality and fairness in the globalization process, which is also critical to realizing the sustainable development of the world economy. That’s why the Belt and Road initiative is now gaining more attention. China’s original intention to initiate this strategy was to boost world economic governance. Now the current international situation gives it a higher-level significance, that is, to promote inclusiveness in the globalization process.
Apparently, it is increasingly urgent to develop an inclusive form of globalization and help the whole world share the benefits. The Belt and Road strategy, which aims at creating an open, inclusive and balanced regional economic cooperation framework that benefits all, is sure to offer a new way of thinking for deepening globalization and help to create an era of inclusiveness in the process.
The connotations of inclusiveness embodied in the Belt and Road strategy are manifested in various aspects. Firstly, it stresses the merging of development strategies and finding corresponding points in interests of the countries along the route, rather than just letting capital flow out of control. In this way, more countries and regions can benefit. Also, through exchanges of development experience, countries along the route can learn from China in terms of advancing the economy and reducing poverty, which is conducive for their own development and modernization. Moreover, the strategy takes a nondiscriminatory principle toward its partners and any one country or region willing to join the framework is welcomed. It also upholds the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, emphasizing common development and prosperity. The strategy seeks harmony but not sameness, believing in co-existence and common prosperity while respecting the diversity of civilizations. It will also increase the proportion of less developed countries and regions into the framework, bringing them opportunities for development.
The Belt and Road strategy is one important move toward the inclusive and healthy development of globalization. Having been implemented for three years, it is proving to be an international cooperation platform for promoting regional development in a globalized world. In the long run, it is in accordance with China’s own development needs and will also help more and more countries and regions benefit from globalization.
Liu Weidong is director of the Belt and Road Strategy Institute and a research fellow from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.