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East Asian developmentalism is often depicted as an ideology imported from the West. According to the most common story, the ideas of Friedrich List were imported to Japan after the Meiji Restoration and then exported from there to the rest of East Asia in the 20th century, with China being the latest country to embrace Listian ideology after 1978. In this research roundtable, Eric Helleiner challenges this narrative by highlighting the endogenous intellectual origins of neomercantilism in the East Asian region itself as well as the neglected importance of Chinese intellectual history to this phenomenon. Using this research as a basis for wider discussion, Helleiner will conclude by offering insights on key methodological and theoretical challenges posed by non-Western approaches to International Relations and International Political Economy.
About the Speaker Eric Helleiner is Professor in the Department of Political Science and Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo. He has authored and edited eleven books, including The Forgotten Foundations of Bretton Woods (2014), The Status Quo Crisis (2014) and Governing the World Biggest Market (2018). He is currently completing a global intellectual history of neomercantilist thought. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and presently co-editor with Jonathan Kirshner of the book series Cornell Studies in Money.