Regulatory capitalism, extinctions and China

21 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021

See all articles by John Braithwaite

John Braithwaite

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet)

Date Written: January 16, 2021


Is it possible to manage economic crises, ecological crises and security crises without larger welfare and regulatory states? Growing a regulatory welfare state is one thing polities can do to avert ecological collapse. My perspective goes beyond narrow meanings of welfare. In the medium term, economies can be reshaped so that jobs are created less by investment in the production of material things, more by growth in human services. Shifting the shape of the economy so more of the jobs are for nurses, teachers, carers reduces emissions. Financialized capitalism pushes workers and whole economies into levels of debt they cannot manage when crises arrive. Understanding these dynamics helps grasp why authoritarian capitalist economies accomplished a wider economic growth lead over liberal economies this century, and in the case of China, a lead in green innovation. This is a different pattern from previous centuries. Investing in more jobs to steer capitalism and steer welfare sit alongside more jobs in the human services as imperatives to avert cascades to ecological, security and economic crises, and to authoritarianism. While there is enormous path-dependence of momentum toward extinctions, mutual inter-penetration of growth path-dependencies among institutions of the market, welfare and of regulation might be mustered to counter it.

Keywords: Regulatory capitalism; China; welfare; crises

Suggested Citation

Braithwaite, John, Regulatory capitalism, extinctions and China (January 16, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

John Braithwaite (Contact Author)

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

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