The Cold War and China in the (Un)making of the Global Dollar Standard


 Room Segalen, 25/F, Admiralty Centre, Tower 2, 18 Harcourt Road, Hong Kong (Admiralty MTR station, exit A)

Speaker:  Ho-fung Hung (Johns Hopkins University)

Reservation & Contact: Heipo Leung / tel: 2876 6910


Ho-fung Hung is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Protest with Chinese Characteristics (Columbia University Press 2011), winner of a President Book Award from the Social Science History Association, and editor of China and the Transformation of Global Capitalism (Johns Hopkins University Press 2009). His articles have appeared in American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, New Left Review, Review of International Political Economy, Asian Survey, etc. , and won major research awards from five different sections of the American Sociological Association and from Switzerland’s World Society Foundation. His analyses on Chinese and Hong Kong politics have been featured or cited in New York Times, BBC News, Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian (UK), Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil), Xinhua Monthly (China), among others. He is currently researching on the intertwined political economies of China and US in the making of global neoliberalism.


Since the 1970s, many global political economists have been seeing the US as a declining hegemon. After four decades into this hegemonic decline, the performance of economies seen as candidates for new hegemon status such as Germany/Europe and Japan have fallen far short of these expectations, while the US share of the global economy and its military supremacy remained stable. This staying power of the US stems from the “dollar standard,” under which the US dollar is the dominant foreign reserve currency and international transaction medium in the world economy. The dollar standard originated in the Cold War era, when all major capitalist powers relied on the US for military protection. It persisted after the end of Cold War, thanks to the continuous mutual reinforcement of the dollar standard and the global domination of the US military. The recent rise of China, which is the first major capitalist power outside the orbit of US military protection, poses a serious dilemma to the US. On the one hand, China’s export-oriented development drives China to purchase US Treasuries on a massive scale, hence lending support to the short-term viability of the dollar. On the other hand, the US’s skyrocketing current account deficit, largely attributable to China, precipitates a crisis of confidence over the dollar’s long-term prospects. China is likewise caught in a dilemma between sustaining its export-driven growth and shifting to a domestic consumption-driven economy. The development of the US-China currency conflict, together with the transformation of the Chinese developmental model, will be the most important determinant shaping the future of the dollar standard and US global power in the years to come.


This seminar will be held in English.
Sebastian Veg, Director of the CEFC, will chair the session.
Snacks and drinks will be served after the seminar.
Seats are limited. Please confirm your attendance.














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