Dr Francesco Macheda, the Programme Director of the Master Programme in International Business and Global Affairs (IBGA) at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, has been honoured with the 2023 Distinguished Achievement Award of Politicial Economy of 21st Century (21世纪世界政治经济学杰出成果奖) for his article co-authored with Roberto Nadalini, titled China’s Escape from the Peripheral Condition: A Success Story? published in the Review of Radical Political Economics in 2022.

This acknowledgement took place at the 16th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy Conference, themed Chinese Modernization and the Prospects of World Modernization. This conference, held in Fuzhou last September, was organized by the School of Economics of Fujian Normal University, the School of Marxism of Nankai University, the Agricultural Bank of China Fujian Branch, and the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone Strait Culture and Media Co., Ltd.

Dr Macheda’s awarded article explores the strategy of active interventions through which Chinese policymakers have created the conditions for pulling their country out of its peripheral status within the world economy. It is argued that the strategic use of exchange rate policy and the maintenance of extensive ownership in industrial assets by the national government have played a key role in cumulatively promoting the upgrading of technological capabilities of the national workforce since the mid-1990 onward.

At the conference, Dr Macheda also presented his paper China’s Road towards Decarbonization: The Role of Industrial Policies and State-Owned Enterprises, that will soon appear in the academic journal Forum for Social Economics (Routledge). This article analyses the strategy of carbon neutralization pursued by China over the past decades and highlights the effective role of government policies in internalizing externalities, providing critical infrastructure, and supporting strategic industries such as green energy technologies.

Dr Macheda's research coincides with the ethos of the master’s Programme IBGA that he directs. Explaining the program's significance, Dr Macheda stated, “In a world that is ever more defined by escalating geopolitical and economic uncertainties, it becomes paramount to nurture the capacity to understand the causes and effects of changes in the external environment. Only by thoroughly understanding the underlying origins and effects of prevailing global changes can today's students effectively guide international investments and ensure the sustainable development of business enterprises in the future.”

In addressing the connection between his research and the IBGA program, Dr Macheda emphasized the need for a new business community capable of addressing emerging risks and challenges in a world undergoing unprecedented changes. He added, “In recent years, I have engaged in research on China's development strategy. Essentially, I start from the assumption that in low- and middle-income countries, free market forces alone are structurally inadequate to spark the rapid development of the economy. This view is consistent with the idea proposed by the Chinese economist Justin Yifu Lin in his New Structural Economics.”

Dr Macheda emphasized that China's technological and economic rise is one of the most significant unprecedented changes in the global economic landscape, stating, “For instance, China's share of global GDP has increased from 9% to over 18% in the last twenty years. With the rise of China's economy, its influence in global politics and international affairs is constantly growing. For example, the most important mechanism in international governance has shifted from the G-8 to the G-20, which includes China and other emerging economies. These major transformations have been accompanied by other events, such as Brexit, the revival of trade protectionism, political tensions, and so on. In essence, the world is experiencing dramatic changes not seen in a century. These changes and transformations encompass both International Business and Global Affairs, which are the two main components of our master’s program.”

(Reporter: Yiyi Gu)

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