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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world


The Beijing Consensus

[Cover of The Beijing Consensus]

Joshua Cooper Ramo

March 2004

Download the report (390 kilobyte PDF)

The former Foreign Editor of Time magazine argues that there is a new "Beijing Consensus" emerging with distinct attitudes to politics, development and the global balance of power.

A new Beijing Consensus is emerging with new attitudes to politics, development and the global balance of power. It is driven, argues Joshua Ramo, by a ruthless willingness to innovate, a strong belief in sovereignty and multilateralism, and a desire to accumulate the tools of 'asymmetric power projection'. Though it is often misunderstood as a nascent superpower, China has no intention of entering an arms race. Instead, it is intent on projecting enough 'asymmetric power' to limit US political and military action in its region. Through fostering good international relations, it is safeguarding the peaceful environment needed to secure its prosperity, and deterring the attempts of some on the fringes of US politics to turn it into a pariah.

Ramo argues that China offers hope to developing countries after the collapse of the Washington consensus. It provides a more equitable paradigm of development that countries from Malaysia to Korea are following. Based on more than a hundred off the record discussions, the Beijing Consensus captures the excitement of a country where change, newness and innovation are rebounding around journal articles, dinner conversations and policy-debates with mantra-like regularity.