Beyond the Great Plateau
This book argued that the evolution of domestic regimes in the twentieth century was shaped by cross-border institutional waves—sudden bursts of domestic reforms, most prominently of democracy but also of fascism and communism. The major source of institutional waves was a specific type of systemic volatility in the form of hegemonic shocks. This chapter examines the argument's consequences for today's global order. Since the mid-1990s, democratization seems to have reached a Great Plateau. For some observers, democratic capitalism is in the process of being supplanted by state capitalism—a rival regime embodied by China and characterized by a capitalist system of production combined with state ownership and guidance. The chapter examines China's potential rise from the historical perspective of shocks and waves, and ends by discussing the argument's broader implications for democracy and the global order.
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