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Understanding Entanglements of Emerging Economic Goliaths: A comparative analysis of Chinese and Brazilian internationalization, development, and interdependence

The project sought to examine Brazil, China, and their economic relationship because they have both experienced immense growth in the past 40 years, the magnitudes of which challenge the traditional international economic order. The goal of the project was to understand how these countries developed differently under neoliberalism and have developed a unique interdependence in recent decades. The approach to the subject first established a historical account of each country’s economic development and then applied three major economic lenses of analysis to interpret the narrative. Findings concluded that dependency theory and an ecological economic approach most aptly explain why China has been more successful than Brazil in developing major industry and benefiting from international trade.

Theses frameworks also explained why China stands to benefit more from an investment-trade relationship more than Brazil due to the structure and behaviors of Chinese state-owned enterprises in energy infrastructure development and extractive industries. The project offers recommendations for Brazilian policymakers including infant industry protection, regulations to require intellectual property transfer by foreign firms, and environmental policy which stresses the importance of biocapacity-conscious urban planning. This project contributes important analysis regarding China’s rise as an economic hegemon and the implications for other emerging economies that face tradeoffs when engaging with China.