FSSL ID Event: China’s Global Slipstream: Transforming Resource-based Development

Cabot Institute and FSSL International Development Group Event: ‘China’s Global Slipstream: Transforming Resource-based Development’

Dr Nicholas Jepson, University of Manchester

Tuesday 7th November, 12.00 – 13.30

Room G4/5, 10 Woodland Road

The SDG seminar series has relaunched as the Bristol Global Challenges and International Development Seminar Series. For this inaugural seminar, we were delighted to welcome Dr Nicholas Jepson from the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester.

In the early 2000s China began to require rapidly-increasing quantities of natural resource imports to sustain its breakneck economic growth. From 2003 to 2014 global markets in minerals and metals experienced a boom of unprecedented extent and duration. And for the first time in 30 years, resource-rich Southern states from Angola to Bolivia began to advance a range of new development strategies, breaking with (neoliberal) economic orthodoxies to which they previously appeared bound. Employing a critical reading of world-systems analysis and incorporating findings from fieldwork in Ecuador, Zambia and Jamaica, this seminar reveals the causal connections between these phenomena. It shows that over the boom years Chinese demand not only transformed the global commodity trade, but in so doing opened the way for the emergence of several new political-economic trajectories among states in the global South. The seminar presents a typology of these trajectories, each one linked to a different form of state-society complex. A key claim is that some of these emergent pathways represent fundamental breaks with previous donor and creditor-imposed policy constraints – and would have been impossible but for the reshaping of extractive sectors in the wake of spiralling Chinese demand. Ultimately, the seminar highlights the potential for China’s continuing externalisation to undermine long-held assumptions around the broader logics of development.

The seminar drew on Dr Jepson’s book, China’s Global Slipstream, which will be published by Columbia University Press in 2018.

a6ca53af-d157-4db8-a8e2-65767cf94534Nicholas Jepson is a Lecturer in International Development in the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester. The first graduate of Bristol’s PhD programme in Global Political Economy, his thesis won the University’s Prize for the best social science thesis of 2015-16. His research centres on the rise of China and its implications for development prospects across the Global South. More broadly, his interests lie in historical understandings of the global political economy and how these might provide insights into contemporary processes of development. In this latter context he has recently published (with Jeffrey Henderson), ‘Critical transformations and global development: materials for a new analytical framework’ (Area Development and Policy, 2017).