The West embraced neoliberalism in response to the crisis of the 1970s.
East Asia embraced the German Historical School of Economics.
After the Cold War, the West attempted to integrate China into the liberal world order by bringing it into the WTO and establishing Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China. See decades of trade deficits.
The result of this was the deindustrialization of Middle America and the emergence of China as a rival superpower.
In hindsight, this was all a huge mistake, but it worked in theory.
Mainstream conservatism is now in deep doodoo.
“In October 10, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed into law “permanent normal trade relations,” or PNTR, with the People’s Republic of China. The move paved the way for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization one year later. We’ve been living with the consequences of that fateful decision ever since.
PNTR has been implicated in some of the most significant and distressing trends of American life in this century: millions of well-paying manufacturing jobs lost; declining family formation and rising deaths of despair; soaring real-estate prices and medieval levels of urban inequality; increased political polarization and populist movements, left and right; and faltering faith in the power of liberal democracy to respond to these and related challenges. To pin all this on a single trade agreement would be a step too far, of course. And yet the imprint of what’s come to be known as the “China shock” can be seen on all these trends, either through its first-order effects, or its reverberations through the body politic.
At the time, though, to oppose PNTR was to make company with the anti-globalization left. It was an unserious position for unserious people, the kind who read Noam Chomsky by night and opined about “neoliberalism” by day. In contrast, serious people understood that free trade with China would be a boon for American consumers, put pressure on the Chinese Communist Party to democratize, and forestall any future conflict with the rising military power. Congress ultimately supported PNTR by a wide margin, bolstered by a record-breaking advertising blitz from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the support of more than three-fourths of Republican lawmakers. …”
It is shocking to read about this lack of faith in neoliberalism in Yuval Levin’s National Affairs at the American Enterprise Institute.
Normally, we see this kind of rhetoric about a philosophical commitment to historicism and the German Historical School of Economics on the more fringe far right blogs like Occidental Dissent.