The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a significant strategic contribution to the history of human development made by China to participate in and improve the global economic governance system, against the background of deepening development of world economic integration.
As a brand-new international cooperation model, the BRI is of great significance to the formation and development of both domestic and international markets in the current era in both theoretical and practical dimensions.
Connecting China with the world
As for the international and domestic markets, one is to take the world as the research object, ie, “the world is the market.” The other is to take China as the research object, ie, China as a market with global significance. The Chinese market’s formation process includes two stages: after the reform and opening up, China has made remarkable achievements in socioeconomic development, and gradually integrated into world trade, finance, and investment systems in this process. China became an economy with a pivotal position in the world. In recent years (especially after 2012), with the establishment of China’s status as the second largest economy in the world, China developed into an “economic growth pole,” making the largest contribution to world economic growth. The two markets, at home and abroad, rely on each other to promote “positive interactions” and “positive circulations” between China’s economy and the world economy.
Building a new open economic system is a major reform that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has vigorously promoted since the 18th CPC National Congress. The overall goal is to build an open economic system in China that is mutually beneficial, diversified, balanced, safe, and efficient. Against the background that China’s economy has entered a stage of high-quality development, the smooth progress and steady implementation of the BRI has provided a Chinese solution for the world economy’s recovery and helped China build its dual identity as a “world factory” and a “world market.”
New theoretical contributions
The BRI is a sublation of the traditional theory of “two parallel world markets,” which believes that there are a capitalist world market and a socialist world market in the world. Guided by Mao Zedong’s “Three Worlds” theory, the BRI adheres to, and develops, Marx’s theoretical positioning of the neutral attribute of the world market.
The BRI has improved the world market’s crisis response plan. With BRICS countries and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as the starting points, the BRI exactly follows and develops Marx’s theoretical logic of joint supervision. In the limited world market of the BRI, all participants should not only “jointly supervise” but also “jointly govern.”
New practical value
The idea of “world market failure” refers to a situation where the market is unable to effectively distribute goods and services worldwide. According to classical Marxist political economics, the world market failure mechanism is the result of joint action from three factors. First is the failure of the world market mechanism. Second is the failure of the supply and demand relationship of public goods. The third is the failure of ecological demand and environmental protection. The BRI allows the development dividends of China’s reform and opening-up to be shared globally. Through common development, we can overcome obstacles hindering the sound development of the world market and improve the world market’s function.
The BRI is conducive to alleviating the monopoly problem in the world market. There is a general contradiction between infrastructure construction and the capital demand for socioeconomic development in developing countries. The Silk Road Fund, the New Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and other multilateral aid institutions and projects initiated by China will help remedy the existing international financial system’s structural defects by jointly building an improved financial support and guarantee system for the BRI, easing the pressure on countries along the BRI routes to use their own currencies more as settlement currencies, relying on their advantages of efficiency, safety, and cost saving.
The BRI is conducive to narrowing the global gap between the rich and the poor. Its fundamental driving force lies in adhering to the principle of “extensive consultation, joint construction and mutual benefits,” and the concept of promoting common development and achieving mutual benefits.
By strengthening infrastructure construction, developing countries will gain guaranteed conditions for economic development, enhance their ability to participate in world economic integration, and obtain the dividends of world economic growth.
By providing developing countries with non-discriminatory and unconditional preferential loans through new international multilateral financial institutions and other financing platforms, the international financial order’s discourse system will be improved, financing channels for the vast number of developing countries will be expanded, and their financing capacity will be enhanced. All these will help their national economies develop independently alongside the “South-South Cooperation.”
By transferring the advanced production technology and high-quality production capacity accumulated since China’s reform and opening up to other countries along the BRI, we will carry out international production capacity cooperation to improve the production capacity and technological levels of developing countries.
By expanding the scale of bilateral or multilateral trade, more jobs for countries along the BRI routes will be created, industry upgrade will be accelerated, and national income and welfare levels will be improved.
Through the above-mentioned four modes of cooperation, developing countries can narrow the socioeconomic development gap between developed and developing countries.
The BRI has become a popular international public good and international cooperation platform in the world today, and its theoretical contributions and practical value will surely be recorded in the glorious history of human social development and civilizational development.