Dollars, Digital Currency, and 120 Years of Chinese Central Banking
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Over 120 years of Chinese central banking history suggests that China’s central banks and adjacent financial institutions have served primarily as instruments of the state’s development agenda—though that agenda was defined and redefined by the Qing, Nationalist, and Communist regimes. In light of this history, China’s digital currency is bound to be yet another solution to the long-standing Chinese elite agenda of “development politics” and resisting foreign domination. Yes, DCEP will be used to sanction dissidents and allow the CCP to evade US sanctions. But, like predecessor institutions, DCEP’s larger mission will be to raise the technological sophistication of the domestic economy and to guarantee the state’s ability to mobilize these resources. Combined with AI, big data, ubiquitous connectivity, and the almost complete digitization of economic activity, DCEP will allow the Chinese state to see and manage its society and economy to a previously unfathomable degree.
Manny Rincon-Cruz is a researcher at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, where he helped launch and currently serves as the executive director of the History Working Group. His research focuses on various aspects of monetary history, Chinese history, and network science. He has written about the social networks of power in the history of the American presidency, the role of collegial networks in the promotion or demotion of Chinese political elites, and is currently working on modeling the spread of the Nazi party in its first three years. Since January 2020, he has been working to better understand the spread and containment of COVID-19, whether in Taiwan or the US. He nonetheless remains keenly interested in how digital technology is transforming both our public sphere and our monetary systems, here and abroad.
ABOUT THE HOOVER HISTORY WORKING GROUP
This interview is part of the History Working Group Seminar Series. A central piece of the History Working Group is the seminar series, which is hosted in partnership with the Hoover Library & Archives. The seminar series was launched in the fall of 2019, and thus far has included six talks from Hoover research fellows, visiting scholars, and Stanford faculty. The seminars provide outside experts with an opportunity to present their research and receive feedback on their work. While the lunch seminars have grown in reputation, they have been purposefully kept small in order to ensure that the discussion retains a good seminar atmosphere.