Absurd to suggest that US model should be copied

By Zhang Jiadong Source:Global Times Published: 2018/6/26 19:28:40

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Recently, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was heard bragging about the US economic model and suggesting that other economies should step into US shoes. As the chief diplomat of his country it may be natural for Pompeo to flaunt the strength of the largest economy in the world, but it does not behove him to ask others to replicate the US model.

Pompeo was speaking at the Detroit Economic Club, stressing that "economic upswing" is "taking place all across America." Pompeo said that "some of the most successful economies today haven't adopted our model.""If the US government does not participate in robust international economic engagement, we will lose out to places like China," he added. Apparently, he hopes to turn the global economy back to the US model as a strategy to compete with the Chinese model. However, this is a ludicrous proposition.

China and the US have their own characteristics. Washington considers its own political system to be universal, and has the impulse to expand it. Beijing believes that its own model is with Chinese characteristics, and it does not have the will, possibility or the necessity for ideological expansion.

There is no competition between the Chinese and US models. So far, these models have been successful in their own countries, but both are in need of continuous reforms. More importantly, the two models have been influencing each other. In the early days of China's reform and opening-up, Beijing learnt from the US, especially in the field of market economy. And now, Washington has also begun to learn from the Chinese model.

Some Americans deliberately misinterpret China's practices and criticize Beijing for promoting Chinese companies' development through government intervention and policy measures. But what is the US government doing now? It is intimidating its trading partners like China so as to help its companies raise their competitiveness. Obviously, they wanted to learn from the Chinese model, but did not learn it the right way.

There are few successful cases of one nation completely replicating the political and economic models of another. If an economy can succeed by simply transplanting others' political and economic model, there won't be any underdeveloped countries left.

Then why is Pompeo emphasizing the US model? For instance, if a company wants to replicate McDonald's model, the best way is to become a franchisee. But once it is a franchise, the company would lose the possibility of challenging McDonald's. This may be the main reason for the US to export its model - making other countries its own franchisee, so they would lose the possibility of independent development and become a source of US hegemony.

Previously, Pompeo has said that Africa should follow the American model. The truth is African countries do not need to copy the Chinese model, nor the US system. Many parts of the Chinese model, including socialism and market economy, have certain universal significance. Some of them have been acquired from the US. The Chinese characteristics are mainly reflected in the scale of China's economy and its cultural traditions based on Confucianism. These two elements are not there in other countries.

Therefore, the significance of the Chinese model is not that it can provide other nations the temptation to be copied directly, but the rule that if a country wants development, it needs to not only learn from others' advanced political and economic experience, but also transform those experiences and models in accordance with its own conditions.

The so-called competition between Chinese and US models showed US strategic anxiety - Washington worries that it may lose its hegemonic position. But there has never been an everlasting empire in the world, the US is no exception. Instead of continuing its dream of keeping its hegemony in all the centuries to come, Washington should seriously consider adapting to the times.

The author is dean of Center for South Asian Studies, Fudan University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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