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Geoeconomics of a New Eurasia during the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Role of China’s Innovation System, BRI and Sanctions from the Global North

Khan, Haider (2024): Geoeconomics of a New Eurasia during the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Role of China’s Innovation System, BRI and Sanctions from the Global North.

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At least since Halford Mackinder’s work, The Geographic Pivot of the History, geopolitical analysis has identified the Eurasian landmass as a key prize in geopolitics. Historically, the post-revolutionary work by the Russian emigres presented a conservative Russian perspective on Eurasia. Recent developments, however, are more complex and invite us to analyze the intimate connections between economics and geopolitics---particularly, energy, technology, innovation systems and transportation corridors among other sectors. Innovation system of China will perhaps play a critical role along with the Russian innovation system in building a New (East) Eurasia during the new cold war. We can subsume under the expression Geoeconomics this intersection of international economics and geopolitics. Geoeconomics is developing as a field of inquiry and policy guidance in Global Security Studies, Global Political Economy and International Politics. Geoeconomics requires us to think in terms of new and old transportation corridors, international trade and finance, economic development or maldevelopment in a complex unevenly developed world of political economy and great power rivalry. As an overall framework, I develop a new modified form of realism which we might call critical trans-neoclassical realism (CTNR). Consistent with this somewhat novel theory, in our complex, uneven world of international competition, technological innovation needs to be reconceptualized as a complex dynamic system with national systems facing imperatives of both competition and cooperation. There is thus a call for increased efficiency. But this might neglect urgent needs for equity and thus could lead to greater polarization and overlook the critical needs of large numbers of people. In order to combine efficiency with equity in building the New Eurasia, I present a nonlinear complex dynamic systems model of innovation for China---applicable to Russia and other Eurasian countries--- within which both efficiency and equity can be addressed. For specificity and for facilitating concrete analysis during the still unfolding fourth industrial revolution, digital technologies based on semiconductor material foundation and the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are analyzed for China. Our framework of combining efficiency and equity in specific ways used for such concrete applications can be called socially embedded capabilities enhancing national innovation system or SECENIS. The Chinese SECENIS that is being built for the 21st century has important regional and geoeconomic implications for the future. The Chinese path shows that innovation systems are critical in building a region such as the New Eurasia. Russia is also trying to follow such a path. Other (East) Eurasian countries will need to follow such a strategy if they are to benefit from the New Eurasian and expanded BRICS arrangements.

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