The common background and purposes behind the present-day PRC-sponsored Belt and Road Initiative and the post-war US-sponsored Marshall Plan bear closer examination. For the Marshall Plan, it was the two World Wars and Great Depression that had destroyed the fabric of economic and political life of Europe, along with the growing threat of communism from the Soviet Union; for the Belt and Road Initiative, it is the prolonged global economic stagnation after 2007 Global Financial Crisis that still effects Asia today. Both the US and PRC at these different times designed their grand development programs in ways intended simultaneously to improve their global leadership status. A major difference is that when the US pushed forward the Marshall Plan, she was facing a world in which the previous European-led global order lay in ruins, as well as confronting an ascendant rival that had over the previous 20 years proven its industrial and military capabilities. This talk will examine five core similarities in the background and purposes of the Marshall Plan and the Belt and Road Initiative by their sponsoring countries, namely 1) boosting exports, 2) exporting currency, 3) countering a rival, 4) fostering strategic division, and 5) siphoning away diplomatic support.

Speaker’s Bio

Dr. Simon Shen is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Social Science and Associate Director of the Global Studies Programme and its related Master of Global Political Economy Programme at Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is active in international media, serving as the Lead Writer (Global) of the Hong Kong Economic Journal and International Relations Advisor of the Chinese-language edition of Bloomberg Businessweek (彭博商業週刊). His publications include more than 70 academic articles in China Quarterly, China Review, Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Affairs, Pacific Review, and Asian Survey, among others. He earned his Ph.D. in Politics and International Relations at University of Oxford.