Journal Articles

The Myth of the Beijing Consensus

2010, Journal of Contemporary China

Scott Kennedy


The widely touted concept of the ‘Beijing Consensus’ (BC) suggests that China's economic success violates conventional theories of development and offers developing countries an alternative vision to the Washington Consensus (WC). Although ambitious, the original conception of the BC is not up to the task of being a worthwhile competitor to the alternative model from which its name was coined, not because of the WC's apparent worthiness, but rather because the BC is a misguided and inaccurate summary of China's actual reform experience. It not only gets the empirical facts wrong about China, it also disregards the similarities and differences China's experience shares with other countries, and it distorts China's place in international politics. In spite of these weaknesses, the BC is nevertheless a useful touchstone to consider the evolution of developmental paradigms, compare China's experience with that of others, identify the most distinctive features of China's experience, and evaluate its significance for the development prospects of other countries and for international relations.


Kennedy, Scott (2010), “The Myth of the Beijing Consensus,” Journal of Contemporary China, Vol. 19, No.65 June, pp. 461-477.

Kelley School of Business

Faculty & Research