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Is China Exceptional? Growth, corruption and democracy with Yuen Yuen Ang

About this podcast

In this podcast episode, Dr. Brian Wong and Professor Yuen Yuen Ang engage in a wide-ranging conversation comparing American and Chinese capitalism and corruption, why the US democracy is in trouble, the trajectory of US-China relations, and the right way to promote democracy.  Ang points out that China’s paradox of high growth and corruption only appears exceptional if one takes the idealized West as the benchmark. In fact, China’s capitalist evolution is more like the American experience than most people think. In both, corruption has evolved over time from thuggery and theft to more sophisticated exchanges of power and profit.  She adds that the right way to promote democracy should be to celebrate its intrinsic benefits, such as empowering civil society, rather than based on extrinsic claims that democracy will always deliver growth.  

Further reading
How exceptional is China’s crony capitalist boom?“, Project Syndicate, 10 May 2024. 
Or access ungated at SSRN, “Why has China’s economy grown despite corruption and is now stagnating?” 

About the host

Dr Brian Wong
is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Hong Kong University and Fellow at Oxford Global Society 

About the speaker

Yuen Yuen Ang
is the Alfred Chandler Chair Professor of Political Economy at Johns Hopkins University. The author of two acclaimed books, How China Escaped the Poverty Trap and China’s Gilded Age, Ang has received multiple awards across academic disciplines – political science, economics, and sociology – including the Theda Skocpol Prize for “impactful contributions to the study of comparative politics.”

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