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When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order

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How China's ascendance as an economic superpower will alter the cultural, political, social, and ethnic balance of global power in the twenty-first century, unseating the West and in the process creating a whole new world. According to even the most conservative estimates, China will overtake the United States as the world's largest economy by 2027 and will ascend to the p How China's ascendance as an economic superpower will alter the cultural, political, social, and ethnic balance of global power in the twenty-first century, unseating the West and in the process creating a whole new world. According to even the most conservative estimates, China will overtake the United States as the world's largest economy by 2027 and will ascend to the position of world economic leader by 2050. But the full repercussions of China's ascendancy-for itself and the rest of the globe-have been surprisingly little explained or understood. In this far-reaching and original investigation, Martin Jacques offers provocative answers to some of the most pressing questions about China's growing place on the world stage. Martin Jacques reveals, by elaborating on three historical truths, how China will seek to shape the world in its own image. The Chinese have a rich and long history as a civilization-state. Under the tributary system, outlying states paid tribute to the Middle Kingdom. Ninety-four percent of the population still believes they are one race-"Han Chinese." The strong sense of superiority rooted in China's history promises to resurface in twenty-first century China and in the process strengthen and further unify the country. A culturally self-confident Asian giant with a billion-plus population, China will likely resist globalization as we know it. This exceptionalism will have powerful ramifications for the rest of the world and the United States in particular. As China is already emerging as the new center of the East Asian economy, the mantle of economic and, therefore, cultural relevance will in our lifetimes begin to pass from Manhattan and Paris to cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It is the American relationship with and attitude toward China, Jacques argues, that will determine whether the twenty-first century will be relatively peaceful or fraught with tension, instability, and danger. When China Rules the World is the first book to fully conceive of and explain the upheaval that China's ascendance will cause and the realigned global power structure it will create.


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How China's ascendance as an economic superpower will alter the cultural, political, social, and ethnic balance of global power in the twenty-first century, unseating the West and in the process creating a whole new world. According to even the most conservative estimates, China will overtake the United States as the world's largest economy by 2027 and will ascend to the p How China's ascendance as an economic superpower will alter the cultural, political, social, and ethnic balance of global power in the twenty-first century, unseating the West and in the process creating a whole new world. According to even the most conservative estimates, China will overtake the United States as the world's largest economy by 2027 and will ascend to the position of world economic leader by 2050. But the full repercussions of China's ascendancy-for itself and the rest of the globe-have been surprisingly little explained or understood. In this far-reaching and original investigation, Martin Jacques offers provocative answers to some of the most pressing questions about China's growing place on the world stage. Martin Jacques reveals, by elaborating on three historical truths, how China will seek to shape the world in its own image. The Chinese have a rich and long history as a civilization-state. Under the tributary system, outlying states paid tribute to the Middle Kingdom. Ninety-four percent of the population still believes they are one race-"Han Chinese." The strong sense of superiority rooted in China's history promises to resurface in twenty-first century China and in the process strengthen and further unify the country. A culturally self-confident Asian giant with a billion-plus population, China will likely resist globalization as we know it. This exceptionalism will have powerful ramifications for the rest of the world and the United States in particular. As China is already emerging as the new center of the East Asian economy, the mantle of economic and, therefore, cultural relevance will in our lifetimes begin to pass from Manhattan and Paris to cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It is the American relationship with and attitude toward China, Jacques argues, that will determine whether the twenty-first century will be relatively peaceful or fraught with tension, instability, and danger. When China Rules the World is the first book to fully conceive of and explain the upheaval that China's ascendance will cause and the realigned global power structure it will create.

30 review for When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order

  1. 5 out of 5

    Whitaker

    Update: 13 December 2011 The Atlantic Monthly had an excellent article that I thought was quite revealing about how evolution towards greater public space for diverse opinions in China will and will not follow American trends. The article, “Clash of Civilizations: The Confusion of Being a Chinese Student in America”, is well-worth reading in full. Brian, this might interest you in particular. The extracted comments below illustrate well, I feel, the different cultural views that the Chinese have Update: 13 December 2011 The Atlantic Monthly had an excellent article that I thought was quite revealing about how evolution towards greater public space for diverse opinions in China will and will not follow American trends. The article, “Clash of Civilizations: The Confusion of Being a Chinese Student in America”, is well-worth reading in full. Brian, this might interest you in particular. The extracted comments below illustrate well, I feel, the different cultural views that the Chinese have on open discussion. On the one hand, there is clearly a desire for greater openness among those interviewed. On the other hand, even those in favour recognise limits to free speech that would, I think, be anathema to Western culture: “… as someone who grew up in a middle-class family in suburban Beijing, I had difficulty connecting the Orwellian China described in western media to the one I recognized... It saddened me that the powerless in China had to resort to foreign media to find a voice. It depressed me when I pictured my non-Chinese college friends skimming these headlines, shaking their heads at my country.”Comment: I wanted to highlight the gulf in media portrayal and how she herself lived in Beijing.“Among my peers in China, if you care about anything deeper, they will say, 'Come on, why are you so idealistic?'“ she said, lifting her tone to imitate their air. “Being in America actually makes you feel better. People don't judge.”Comment: I find it interesting that she refers to not being judged, as opposed to believing in free speech per se.“I always believe people's grievances should be channeled instead of blocked,” she reflected. “In China, even when the government makes large moves such as demolishing and relocating rural villages, it never gives the residents a chance to speak and just settles everything with money.”Comment: Note that she says ‘channeled’ which implies a certain amount of control. It’s not untrammelled free speech that she is advocating.“I thought, 'How could you have disagreement in front of the public?'“ “There's a strong Chinese view nowadays that critical thinking and dissidence create problems, so everyone should just keep quiet and maintain harmony.” Although she grumbled about the “arbitrary and alienating” U.S. media coverage of China, she said it was “unnecessary to dwell upon the details.” “On the one hand, [America] praises China for the role it plays on the international stage. On the other hand, it tells its citizens about China's investment in clean energy and technology and argues that America needs to do more in order to not fall behind. That's not the way you speak about a friend [in Chinese social norms] ... it hurts feelings.”Comment: Notice while views on activism may differ, a common denominator is the need to not hurt feelings or to allow face to be kept. He maintains that democratic reform should proceed cautiously. “I might sound like a Chinese bureaucrat,” he chuckled. “Human rights is indeed a sensitive topic in China, but that doesn't mean no one in the government wants to improve the situation. Western governments are pushing it too hard, so it's counterproductive.”Comment: This I thought particularly interesting as it highlights the different approaches to getting things done. His emphasis is on non-confrontation and using behind the scenes persuasion so that there is less loss of face. Where cultures differ, similar ideas of working for the benefit of the people can manifest in different ways. What works in one culture may be completely counterproductive in another. Don't You Just HATE the Title? I have to first get this off my chest: I hate the title. It’s a stupid, inflammatory title put there, I can only imagine, to move books. Given the content itself, a more accurate title would be The Possible Effects of China’s History and Culture on Its Behaviour as a Global Power Assuming that It Does Actually Become a Global Power. Okay, I’ll admit that no one would actually buy a book with that title but I really hate the whole fear-mongering titillation thing going on there. After all the sensationalism inherent in the title, the reader is going to be somewhat disappointed to read the following statement:“I want to ponder what the world might be like in twenty, or even fifty, years’ time. The future, of course, is unknowable but in this chapter I will try to tease out what it might look like. Such an approach is naturally speculative, resting on assumptions that might prove to be wrong. Most fundamentally of all, I am assuming that China’s rise is not derailed… What would demolish [China’s rise] is if, for some reason, China implodes in a twenty-first-century version of the intermittent bouts of introspection and instability that have punctuated Chinese history.”Of course, for every book or article or pundit proclaiming the Oriental takeover of the world, you’ll find at least another book or article or pundit proclaiming that China’s rise will go down in flames: George Friedman relies on China’s geographic challenges, others cite its demographic challenges. So, let’s get past the silly speculation then, shall we? It's not helpful. A Socio-Cultural Approach to International Relations Martin Jacques adopts a predominantly socio-cultural approach to the question of international relations. While there are strengths to this approach, I also think that he takes it too far. Japan’s last twenty years, for example, are explained as being due to Japan losing direction after having reached its goal of finally catching up to the West. Its national character is that of a well-aimed ninja copycat—it either spent its history emulating China or the Western nations. Once there was no one else to emulate, it had no idea what to do. So it’s apparently not about the overly close relations between the corporate and the political classes or the overly extended corporate and national debt that it has. It’s one thing to point out that the way Japan’s politics is conducted is heavily influenced by its history and culture. It’s entirely another to posit that its current economic malaise is due to its “collective consciousness” somehow losing its way. Having pointed out where I think his approach is limited, I do think that he’s spot on with his thesis that the 21st century will see competing modernities. Whether the rise will be China’s and/or Turkey’s and/or Brazil’s and/or some other potential world power we haven’t identified yet, it is a mistake to think that there will be some Fukayama convergence towards Western norms of socio-cultural political and economic behaviour. Nations are made up of people, and culture is not only about making yoghurt. A people’s history and culture conditions how they see the role of the state, what they expect from it, and how they and their businesses function. The American mythos of its rebellion and its independence give it a world view that conditions the way its people behave and react, and expect their government to behave and react. Chinese Stories About Themselves The Chinese mythos has a substantially different world view that sounds entirely different echoes in the Chinese psyche. Every Chinese child will know the stories of the Warring Kingdoms period and the romance of the Three Kingdoms where a weakened central authority gave way to warlords. Every Chinese child will also know the stories of great Chinese emperors whose wisdom and foresight brought wealth and prosperity to the empire. These myths give rise to different notions and expectations of the state and your place within it. Having said that, I am not, in any way, endorsing the other Huntingtonian extreme: “civilisations” do not band together in some global way to duke it out for supremacy and power. States and governments are inevitably more influenced by their geopolitical interests than their presumed common culture. European history is far too replete with examples of Catholic states allying with Protestant or even Muslim states to defeat a common Catholic enemy for civilisational alliances to be the dominant paradigm. As recent events have demonstrated, Vietnam, South Korea, and Myanmar are as likely to ally with the United States if they felt it beneficial to their geopolitical self-interests to do so. Politics is always, first and foremost, local. And this localism is why I think Jacques’s concept of competing modernities is spot on. He correctly points out that leaders can only lead by persuading people to follow them. The appeals are not rational; they are emotional. Trust, like love, is first and foremost a matter of the heart. And our hearts are moved by appeals that chime in harmony to the music of our most cherished myths: of ourselves, and of our country. Any other type of clarion call will only clang discordantly. Chinese Genes, Chinese Culture? He is very good at laying out in broad brushstrokes the conscious and not-so-conscious rhythms that move the Chinese psyche: the idea of all Chinese being “sons of the Yellow Emperor” in some mythic blood-tie that links all Chinese, even its diaspora, to the Motherland; the idea of its ancient civilisational greatness; the Confucian notions of the state operating under duties imposed by the Mandate of Heaven to ensure the well-being of its people; and the emphasis on harmony, unity, and cohesion over individualism and self. A somewhat glib personal example: I grew up speaking English. It is for all intents and purposes my mother tongue. Chinese was something I used mostly only in language lessons classes, with any ability in it acquired in spite of my sulking and petulance. Even now, my Mandarin is chiefly limited to use in functional circumstances. I wouldn’t, for example, be able to talk about politics or art in Mandarin. I just don’t have the vocabulary for it. And this is just spoken Mandarin. I’m practically illiterate. The second I got the results for my final set of exams in Mandarin, I tossed all my literacy down the black hole of grateful oblivion. Okay, not all. I can still manage to write my name in Chinese script. With that as background, I cannot tell you how many times I have had to grit my teeth while some Singaporean of Chinese ethnicity said to me, “Aren’t you ashamed? You’re Chinese and you can’t speak Chinese,” looking at me like a Quasimodo whose genes had somehow mutated leaving out the Mandarin-speaking alleles (Oh, Steve Pinker would love them!). But that’s it, you see, the idea that Chinese-ness is somehow encoded in your genes still lives on in the minds of these people who are third or fourth generation immigrants like some kind of evil parasitic meme that just won’t die (and if you thought you detected a note of bitterness there, you won’t be wrong.) His Eight Main Points Summarised So, from his discussion of Chinese thought, he draws out four determining characteristics of the Chinese state that relate to its culture and history: • It is a civilisation-state rather than a nation-state. • It will see allies in its backyard as operating under a tributary system rather than under the Westphalian nation-state system. • It will evince that peculiarly Chinese attitude towards its own race and ethnicity. • It has a very specific Confucian idea of the state and its citizens. He also draws out another four characteristics of the Chinese state that relate more to its current objective circumstances: • It operates on a continent-size scale. • The speed of its transformation conditions its attitude to modernity which will be highly flexible and adaptive. • It will continue to be ruled by a Communist party. • It will evince the characteristics of both a developed (its coastal cities) and developing (its rural interior) nation for a long time. The More Things Change It remains to be seen how this will actually play out. As for how the past conditions our present, it is worth mentioning that the current method of the CCP in dealing with China’s provinces is much of a piece with the methods used under its ancient imperial civil service system. Governors are pretty much given a free hand in how they manage the provinces under their charge, but need to ensure that they keep the population relatively at peace with jobs and other needs. People in the provinces generally respect the bona fides of the central government but despise the local, and often corrupt, governors. This is exactly how Imperial China usually operated. The more things change, indeed. What Others Thought: The Independent (a tour de force across a host of disciplines), The Guardian (a well-informed and subtle analysis of Chinese history and culture…careful to avoid over-confidence in his predictions…an extremely impressive book).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Troy Parfitt

    Part Wish, Part Propaganda, Much Pish Posh Martin Jacques’s When China Rules the World is well written, nicely packaged, and fails utterly in explaining why China is going to rule the world. But then, maybe we should it expect it to. After all, it’s not called Why China Will Rule the World, but with a title like the one it has, one can be forgiven for expecting a concrete explanation. In this book, you’ll find academic prose, a massive select bibliography, 70 pages of notes, lovely maps and graph Part Wish, Part Propaganda, Much Pish Posh Martin Jacques’s When China Rules the World is well written, nicely packaged, and fails utterly in explaining why China is going to rule the world. But then, maybe we should it expect it to. After all, it’s not called Why China Will Rule the World, but with a title like the one it has, one can be forgiven for expecting a concrete explanation. In this book, you’ll find academic prose, a massive select bibliography, 70 pages of notes, lovely maps and graphs, omissions of key evidence, wild speculation, unforgiveable leaps in logic, stupefying factual errors (Sun Yat-sen’s philosophy was not influenced by Mencius; it was influenced by Abraham Lincoln), and a thesis that, if you will, repeatedly repeats itself repeatedly, but offers little in the way of support. Before we look at the tome in toto, let’s have a glance at its Taiwan section. The chapter on Taiwan gives a fairly accurate overview of China’s and Taiwan’s political history since 1949 and notes that 2009 saw a thaw in cross-strait relations. The two sides signed agreements regarding direct flights, and so on, therefore there might be ‘a resolution of disputes in the relatively near future.’ But those agreements were signed by the Nationalist Party, the organization that turned Taiwan into the Republic of China upon losing the Chinese Civil War. Never mind that China and Taiwan were only ever nominally united, and for a very short time (something Jacques fails to mention), a chief aim of the Nationalist Party is so-called reunification. Because it can’t have “reunification,” the Nationalists settle for closer ties with China. “Reunification” is impossible because the Nationalist Party’s rival, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won’t allow for it. Moreover, supporters from both parties don’t want it. Polls regularly show that something like 90 percent of Taiwanese people want nothing to do with China politically. The Taiwanese are incredibly passionate and politically motivated, and they make frequent use of their democratic right to demonstrate. Futurology is a fool’s game, but I would stake my life on the people of Taiwan turning their country on its head before capitulating to Beijing or being sold out by the Nationalists in Taipei. Jacques says that if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gets re-elected and declares independence, China will likely invade Taiwan, but it’s highly unlikely the DPP will declare independence because their supporters don’t want them to. Something like 70 percent of Taiwanese people wish to keep the status quo. The Nationalists and many of their supporters would never go in for independence, either; neither would the United States. Politically, Taiwan represents a political conundrum and cross-strait relations are a knotty, complex affair. But not to Martin Jacques, who says ‘things are getter better; one day they might be resolved’ (quotation marks are mine). Such a sentiment is the type of hare-brained sloganeering you’d find on a Communist Party propaganda banner. Jacques has to say a solution is possible because if China is really going to rule the world, a prerequisite would be to gain control over the tiny, nearby, Chinese island that has underscored China’s impotence for six decades. I mention the Taiwan section because it is representative of the rest of the book. With print, you can make obstacles and complexities disappear by not mentioning them, and you can make any scenario seem plausible. Just use the words ‘possibly,’ ‘likely,’ and ‘perhaps,’ and for variety’s sake, or to sound authoritative, say that certain events will transpire. Using the word ‘will’ makes you sound like an expert. Don’t complicate things with the word ‘because’ because that only leads to claims that people can dispute. The thesis statement for When China Rules the World can be found on p. 15: “It is banal, therefore, to believe that China’s influence on the world will be mainly and overwhelmingly economic: on the contrary, it’s political and cultural effects are likely to be as far-reaching. The underlying argument of the book is that China’s impact on the world will be as great as that of the United States over the last century, probably far greater.” But why will it be greater? You read the book’s two parts (I: The End of the Western World, II: The Age of China) and sift through their many subsections (e.g. Beijing as The New Global Capital) only to find the flimsiest of evidence. Naturally, the reader wonders, ‘When China rules the world, in what language will the world take its instructions?’ and Martin Jacques deals with this in the section ‘Can You Speak Mandarin?’ Here, we find the usual: Mandarin has become popular as a second language in countries like South Korea and Thailand. It still hasn’t taken off in the West, however, perhaps because of the US’s and UK’s “abiding linguistic insularity and their failure to comprehend the wide-ranging implications of China’s rise.” Jacques goes on to say that Mandarin “will probably in time join English as a global lingua franca and perhaps eventually surpass it.” And then: “The nascent competition between English and Mandarin for the status of global lingua franca... is fascinating... because... they could hardly be more different: one alphabetic, the other pictographic....” Only, there is virtually no competition between English and Mandarin, and the situation is not nascent. Furthermore, Chinese script is not pictographic. This gaffe, along with the fact Jacques cannot pronounce the Chinese words he attempts to slip into conversation in his promotional videos, are clear indicators he doesn’t speak Mandarin. Not that I’m calling Mr. Jacques a hypocrite. That would be a grave insult to hypocrites everywhere. Perhaps it’s just that Jacques prefers to cling to his linguistic insularity and fails to comprehend the wide-ranging implications of China’s rise. I was especially curious to see what Mr. Jacques would say vis-a-vis the exportation or appeal of Chinese culture. The relevant section is a mere three pages long. As examples, Jacques holds up Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Chinese food, and what he calls the “global reach of traditional Chinese medicine.” But Chinese medicine doesn’t have a global reach. Western medicine does. Chinese doctors practise Western medicine. They read medical journals in English. They become doctors by studying textbooks printed in London, Boston, and New York. Ask a Chinese doctor about traditional Chinese medicine and they’re likely to tell you it’s quackery. Also exportable, Jacques says, is kungfu, interesting to me because during the decade I lived in Chinese society I never met a single person who studied kungfu. I never witnessed anyone wearing the uniform; never saw a single kungfu school. There are kungfu comic books and movies from Hong Kong, but they are, like Jacques’s arguments, puerile. The author’s examples go from superficial and silly to downright absurd. While acknowledging China’s media outlets don’t compare with the BBC, the writer says the potential of the People’s Daily and CCTV (China Central Television) shouldn’t be disregarded. The People’s Daily and CCTV are propaganda outlets for the Chinese Communist Party. Martin Jacques was the editor of the Communist Party of Great Britain’s Marxism Today for 14 years. Not surprisingly, that’s not mentioned in the book either. In addition to being a Marxist, Martin Jacques is a dyed-in-the-wool Sinophile, and in the end, Sinophiles are all the same: they are knowledgeable, articulate, dedicated embellishers. About the closest the author comes to explaining his thesis is by saying China will come out on top because it is not a nation-state, but a civilization state – only there’s no such phrase as civilization state; it’s a term Jacques invented. Jacques, and other Sinophiles, would have you believe that China is exceptional, not subject to analysis applicable to the world’s other countries and cultural entities. China is different. In fact, it’s so different the English language lacks the terminology to deal with it, but luckily for us, Martin Jacques has a patent on the required lexical items, and he’ll share them for just $29.95. Sinophiles resurrect the old ethos that China is mystical, inscrutable. They would have you believe that China is nigh impossible to understand and oh-so-hard to explain – unless they are the ones explaining it. Martin Jacque’s When China Rules the World represents a wish, an exercise in pro-China propaganda, or both. The Englishman’s argument is unsubstantiated, graph-and-chart infused, pseudo-academic tosh. The concept of China ruling the world has nothing to do with China studies and is the wrong lens through which to view that country. There are plenty of highly engaging, informative, and honest, China books out there. This isn’t one of them. Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Lately there have been a lot of negative reviews about this book, here for example, a review that equates Jacques with (cringe!) Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington of neo-con fame. This review, like others, calls Jacques view of China negative (racism thing, coming culture clash). I have say, almost having finished with this book, that's not what I took from Jacques message but then, I like to think I'm smarter than the average bear. What's important to keep in mind while reading this book is to Lately there have been a lot of negative reviews about this book, here for example, a review that equates Jacques with (cringe!) Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington of neo-con fame. This review, like others, calls Jacques view of China negative (racism thing, coming culture clash). I have say, almost having finished with this book, that's not what I took from Jacques message but then, I like to think I'm smarter than the average bear. What's important to keep in mind while reading this book is to use the historical context that Jacques paints as a lense through which to see China. And his end message is better than most other books about China. Most books about modern China conclude that it's still a backward country in terms of corruption, poverty, infrastructure, human rights, media, etc. and that ultimately Chinese people will push the government to democratic governance because that's the only way to go. Jacques says that all of these problems will probably not persist in the future, but they will fixed in a Chinese way-- that is, the China of the future will not look like China today, but neither will resemble the western democracy. China has a lot of evolving to do and his descriptions of cultural clashes between China and the West shouldn't be taken as what will happen, what deserves a huge international incident, but more perspective on potential rubs along the way. It's impossible to determine Jacques intentions (but if I ever get an interview with him, I'll definitely ask), but I don't think the book was written with the intention to be taken as seriously/literally as some seem to have taken it. And we need to keep in mind as reader, it's our responsibility to exercise our own judgment in what we take away from a book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    AC

    After a long hiatus I've gone back to finish this. It is, in my opinion, one of the most important books written on the topic in many years -- insightful, intelligent, never dogmatic, informed by a true historical vision -- it is a book that I think will long outlast its critics... of which there seem to be quite a few. I have read some of the reviews of this book -- not all, of course -- and have to say that I have rarely seen so many understand so little. For the most part, they seem to have si After a long hiatus I've gone back to finish this. It is, in my opinion, one of the most important books written on the topic in many years -- insightful, intelligent, never dogmatic, informed by a true historical vision -- it is a book that I think will long outlast its critics... of which there seem to be quite a few. I have read some of the reviews of this book -- not all, of course -- and have to say that I have rarely seen so many understand so little. For the most part, they seem to have simply scanned the opening and closing chapters, and measured Jacques' (in reality, always measured) conclusions... against their own (self-inflated) opinions.... rather than working through the book, and engaging with the author's thought on a point-by-point basis. This does not mean I agree with everything in this volume. He has not captured the problem of Taiwan correctly, imo -- since he does not seem to realize that Taiwanese opinion is divided along *ethnic* lines -- and what this implies. He is also too ready to adopt the Pomeranz view of the Great Divergence - viz., that it was a recent phenomenon. But these are quibbles. The fundamental theses: that China is a civilization-state, and not a nation-state; that it is driven by Neoconfucian (rather than western values); that all these traits -- including the old tributary system -- will likely re-emerge in time -- given the conservatism of culture (see below) -- the difference between a shame-culture and a guilt-culture and the importance of this distinction to understanding China and the West -- all seem to me to be unassailable. On the conservatism of culture -- let me just cite two of my favorite examples. The system of land-tenure in play in Ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs not only survived the fall of the Pharaonate, but -- with only a change of nomenclature (from Egyptian to Greek to Arabic) was continued INTACT under the Ptolemies, during the Byzantine period, and under the Arabs... until fairly recent times. ... much as one can see the traces of ancient medieval systems of tenure (under aerial photography) beneath the fields of modern France (http://www.amazon.com/French-Rural-Hi...) Another one: the ancient military youth groups (based on kinship lines) in the Iberian peninsula were likewise retained INTACT by the Romans, after their difficult (and never completed) conquest of Iberia -- again, with only a change in name -- and survived in this form for centuries (see Rostovtzev's Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire -- another classic....) The Hagia Sophia was built on the site of an ancient temple (I believe it was a temple of Aphrodite, but I do not remember exactly) and then -- after the Turks took Constantinople -- and changed its name to Istanbul, the cross was removed, a minaret put in its place..., whereupon it became the Ayasofya Mosque. Thus, just as one can trace physical ruins through time such that culture after culture builds on the same physical spot and (often) on the very same physical foundations -- so too, with cultural institutions..., we often find that institutions survive intact for centuries from culture to culture, suffering only a change in name. Freud, by the way, uses a similar image to describe the fundamental problems of ego psychology -- and of the compulsion to repeat -- but that is another story altogether.... ... or is it?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robert Morris

    Martin Jacques is a little too in love with his thesis. At initial publication this book performed a valuable service. Pre-financial crisis, people probably did take an excessively relaxed view of the consequences of China's rise. This edition of the book, however, is very much a mid-crisis animal. Every chapter is suffused with the awareness of the West's rapid decline, and China's new power and prestige. This change in relative power is a fact, and the data that he marshals to support his poin Martin Jacques is a little too in love with his thesis. At initial publication this book performed a valuable service. Pre-financial crisis, people probably did take an excessively relaxed view of the consequences of China's rise. This edition of the book, however, is very much a mid-crisis animal. Every chapter is suffused with the awareness of the West's rapid decline, and China's new power and prestige. This change in relative power is a fact, and the data that he marshals to support his point is an absolute treasure trove. I imagine I will be using his tables as a source in my writing for years to come. But I don't think it is just my American jingoism speaking, however, when I say that this is a little over-blown. We are not just a year or two from joining a Chinese tributary system. The Chinese will not be "ruling the world" in a decade or two. Jacques exhaustively documents many exceptions to his own thesis. The "Chinese Model" that he states will become more influential over the coming decades is impossible to set up without a billion Chinese people. The vicious racism of the Chinese people and their general lack of interest in the outside world is a pretty solid bar to their potential dominance. European racism came with an urge to explore, and an insuperable advantage in military technology. The Chinese won't have either. Yes, the Chinese make up 20% of the world population. As they become more powerful, however, the other 80% will become more united in its interest in containing China.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jake Goretzki

    Hugely interesting, in general, and a good grounding in some key tenets of Chinese culture and politics. I came to this as one of those readers for whom China is known mostly through the BBC World Service and the odd flare up over Taiwan and Japan – and from the angle of a stratospheric economy run by a fantasy communist party that doesn’t allow protests or Facebook. It’s also pretty good on Japan, as a powerful contrast to China’s journey. I found the coverage of racism and the Chinese superior Hugely interesting, in general, and a good grounding in some key tenets of Chinese culture and politics. I came to this as one of those readers for whom China is known mostly through the BBC World Service and the odd flare up over Taiwan and Japan – and from the angle of a stratospheric economy run by a fantasy communist party that doesn’t allow protests or Facebook. It’s also pretty good on Japan, as a powerful contrast to China’s journey. I found the coverage of racism and the Chinese superiority complex really interesting too (though I’m not sure I buy the idea of Japan’s sputtering being down to it hitting its goal of catching the US…like some sort of Elvis on cheeseburgers). What worried me – and began to irritate me as the long story progressed – was Martin Jacques’ central belief that nations and politics are unavoidably the product of historical experience, and that indelible, centuries-old characteristics will predestine a country to one type of system. This is the moral relativist line that the red-green left are fond of: that swarthy Asiatics don’t want property rights, female suffrage or habeas corpus - for that is their culture, see. This is used to explain why China doesn’t do democracy – for that is a fading Western thing – and why, apparently, ‘the Chinese’ believe that the state should play a very prominent role in everyday life and don’t want (I exaggerate a bit) political freedoms. I mean, get this line: ‘..the state remains venerated above society, possessed of great prestige, regarded as the embodiment of what China is, and the guarantor of the country’s stability and unity. It’s the quintessence of China…’. Really? Really? Those are some pretty forceful claims. This being China, we don’t see much in the way of what the everyday citizen actually believes. What would we hear if we asked some Chinese people too? So at times, it sounded to me a bit like those thirties accounts of the new Soviet Union – where a dazzled, wide-eyed left-leaning Western observer buys the line that this society doesn’t want civil rights – for that is not the Russian way. I also felt it was very generous to the party in power too. Perhaps they are very clever and do take a wonderfully sage, long view – but they’re still the thugs who butchered thousands of students in 1989 on global TV networks. They’re also apparently eminently ‘Confucian’ in their behaviour (Jacques says this is the bedrock of governance). Now, I don’t know much about Confucianism beyond it being an ethical / moral system. But the World Service stories about Xi Jinping’s accumulated multi-million fortune didn’t suggest he had been up to much that was ethical or moral of late. I also started to feel the jarring of a slight tone of glee in his coverage of the decline of democracy and Western values (of which the essence is, in his view, the 2008 financial crash), and wanted to shout ‘Martin, come come! You surely do still like free presses and elections, right?’ For someone who writes for a social democratic newspaper, he can sound remarkably comfortable with a future of contested and (apparently equally valid) modernities. Lastly, it’s very long, despite the Kindle dividend that means it’s over by 70%. I often found myself thinking ‘Hang on, we’ve covered ‘civilisation-state-not-nation-state’ / tributary systems / contested modernity three times already'. It could do with a bit of editing and economy. So, inspiring and bloody interesting. But a little light on backbone.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Represents so much of what I dislike in popular non-fiction like Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat." Over generalizing, uninformed, and myopic. The issue it discusses is a serious one, but it adds little to nothing of value and does a disservice to the layman looking to get informed. Represents so much of what I dislike in popular non-fiction like Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat." Over generalizing, uninformed, and myopic. The issue it discusses is a serious one, but it adds little to nothing of value and does a disservice to the layman looking to get informed.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Horace Derwent

    please don't, i'd rather see this world sink into shit than to witness china rule it please don't, i'd rather see this world sink into shit than to witness china rule it

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jarvo

    This is a really interesting book, on a subject which is difficult to write about it because it is trying to persuade us to see the world differently. Some of the central themes of the book can be summarized quite briefly. The west has dominated the world for two centuries or more, and has tended to project its values and world view as universal norms. The rise of China has inevitably begun to disrupt this, and will disrupt it much further as the century progresses. China is not a western libera This is a really interesting book, on a subject which is difficult to write about it because it is trying to persuade us to see the world differently. Some of the central themes of the book can be summarized quite briefly. The west has dominated the world for two centuries or more, and has tended to project its values and world view as universal norms. The rise of China has inevitably begun to disrupt this, and will disrupt it much further as the century progresses. China is not a western liberal democracy (obviously), does not aspire to be one, and is not likely to become one. Most Chinese people are also probably perfectly happy to accept this. As a result of its rise China is not going to become more like the rest of the world, the rest of the world will have to become more like China. So far, so good. The book is also good on some aspects of what's different about China, and what the impact of this is going to be. He is especially strong on why so many Chinese people are prepared to accept a strong and unitary state (some combination of Confucian tradition and competence), and on China's relationship with the developing world. However even here there is an awful lot of repetition, and the author clings to a notion of the 'civilization state' which he never adequately defines or distinguishes from other forms of nationalism (it does though resonate very strongly with Xi Jinping's concept of 'the China Dream', a sort of American dream with Chinese characteristics). Also the book is something of a prisoner of its title (apparently imposed by an unscrupulous publisher). Whilst he makes it clear that China will dominate East Asia (which will be overwhelmingly the most important economic area in the world), he is less clear how China will 'rule the world' (although this is just a figure of speech no country ever really managed this). He is also trapped in a binary view: for China to rise he assumes the US and Europe will fall. He risks overemphasizing the impact of the financial crash - at point asserting that China's GDP will overtake the US in 2018, which is not going to happen. Obviously. The reality is that many people in Europe will go on living what they consider to be a uniquely civilized life, and the US is likely to remain particularly dynamic and entrepreneurial economy. Just don't ask about the bottom quartile in either country. Notwithstanding throughout my life if I was asked what was the most important country in the world I'd have said the US. I no longer believe that is going to be true in 15 years time. Too few people in the West are informed about China, and many would benefit from reading this book. It is, unfortunately nearly ten years old, and it would be great to get the author's views on things like the Belt Road Initiative.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Gerald

    If this was written two decades ago, this would have seemed heresy. But not so today. However, this should still be read with a grain of salt, considering the author's background. If this was written two decades ago, this would have seemed heresy. But not so today. However, this should still be read with a grain of salt, considering the author's background.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Angelito

    Sounds like propaganda; but notwithstanding the palpable bias, it is insightful and informative. "Ultimately, nations see the world in terms of their own history, values and mindset and seek to shape that world in the light of those experiences and perceptions." "What then will be the key characteristics of Chinese modernity? They are eight in all, which for the deeply superstitious Chinese happens to be their lucky number. In exploring these characteristics, we must consider both the internal f Sounds like propaganda; but notwithstanding the palpable bias, it is insightful and informative. "Ultimately, nations see the world in terms of their own history, values and mindset and seek to shape that world in the light of those experiences and perceptions." "What then will be the key characteristics of Chinese modernity? They are eight in all, which for the deeply superstitious Chinese happens to be their lucky number. In exploring these characteristics, we must consider both the internal features of China’s modernity and, given China’s global importance, how these might impact upon and structure its global outlook and relations. (view spoiler)[ First, China is not really a nation-state in the traditional sense of the term but a civilization-state... Second, China is increasingly likely to conceive of its relationship with East Asia in terms of a tributary-state, rather than nation-state, system... Third, there is the distinctively Chinese attitude towards race and ethnicity. The Han Chinese conceive of themselves as a single race, even though this is clearly not the case... Fourth, China operates, and will continue to operate, on a quite different continental-sized canvas to other nation-states... Fifth, the nature of the Chinese polity is highly specific. Unlike the Western experience, in particular that of Europe, the imperial dynasty was neither obliged, nor required, nor indeed desired to share power with other competing institutions or interest groups, such as the Church or the merchant class... Sixth, Chinese modernity, like other East Asian modernities, is distinguished by the speed of the country’s transformation. It combines, in a way quite different from the Western experience of modernity, the past and the future at one and the same time in the present... Seventh, since 1949 China has been ruled by a Communist regime... Eighth, China will, for several decades to come, combine the characteristics of both a developed and a developing country... In the light of these eight characteristics, it is clear that Chinese modernity will be very different from Western modernity, and that China will transform the world far more fundamentally than any other new global power in the last two centuries." (hide spoiler)]

  12. 5 out of 5

    Peter Crofts

    Dense with stats. Sometimes it's a bit too much. It also offers one of the more nuanced analysis of the long tradition of the Chinese cultural outlook. From the country's origins up to and including the Communist era. There is a belief that as a country becomes progressively more "modern", it will become progressively more "Western". It's the belief that what we have undergone is where everyone will end up, it's a historical inevitable because that's what Westerm liberal democratic and capitalis Dense with stats. Sometimes it's a bit too much. It also offers one of the more nuanced analysis of the long tradition of the Chinese cultural outlook. From the country's origins up to and including the Communist era. There is a belief that as a country becomes progressively more "modern", it will become progressively more "Western". It's the belief that what we have undergone is where everyone will end up, it's a historical inevitable because that's what Westerm liberal democratic and capitalism amounts to. Anyone who has lived in Asia, which I have, knows that's absolute nonsense. It's arrogant as well. Perhaps the last wheeze of the insufferable colonial outlook. Jacques makes a very convincing case that China, like Japan, will modernize on its own terms, and even if it develops some of the features of our own political world they will still work differently and lead to different results. Finally, he underlines that we have become so used to a world where we are culturally dominant that we find it close to impossible to envision a world where there is more than one cultural model in a dominant geopolitical position. That is obviously changing before our eyes. As China's economic might grows so will its cultural influence. Ultimately this is a fair minded and in depth analysis of what is and will continue to be the major geopolitical event of the 21st century. All we can hope is that cool minds prevail on both sides of the fence. Major challenges to the prevalent balance of power tends to lead to tribal drum thumping, racist or cultural paranoia and war. If it happens in this case it will be the last one. Will the West be able to accept that it is no longer master of the world? Will the East have the patience to tolerate our sanctimonious hypocrisy? Only time will tell, but this book contains lot of questions that policy makers should be thinking about now, rather than simply reacting to in the next few decades. Asia knows a hell of a lot about us, we know close to nothing about them. Another remnant of the imperialist mindset. A self defeating one if we don't wake up. Jacques pulls no punches when it comes to what we would consider the country's failings. He's particularly critical on the inherent racism of the Han. Though it is considered from the viewpoint that all cultures have a racist component. We're seeing an explosion of it ourselves at present. It's always lurking under the surface, perhaps it always will be. It is how it is dealt with that is what really matter. From that standpoint, in practice China fails miserably. Not only in the differential and humiliating treatment of minorities but in the clear policy of the government to focus on Han migration into these areas until they out number them.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tom Bernthal

    The premise of this book was extremely intriguing to me, and I started the book with high hopes. For me, the book never lived up to the promise. At the same time, I liked the book for what it offered. It was just presented differently than I anticipated. The author goes into a lot of detail, which becomes both a blessing and a curse. I enjoyed the detail as it related to history and how cultural differences influence business and economic activity in a way that westerners like me might find hard to The premise of this book was extremely intriguing to me, and I started the book with high hopes. For me, the book never lived up to the promise. At the same time, I liked the book for what it offered. It was just presented differently than I anticipated. The author goes into a lot of detail, which becomes both a blessing and a curse. I enjoyed the detail as it related to history and how cultural differences influence business and economic activity in a way that westerners like me might find hard to grasp without the detailed backstory. However, the detail of economic data -- especially since much of it was specific to the timeframe during which the author was writing the book -- quickly becomes tedious and, since it is out of date, irrelevant. I tried to skim over these parts, but the writing is very dense with long paragraphs which makes skimming difficult. I lost interest in this book at least 3 times over the last 4 months and finally finished simply by scheduling the time to read it rather than an inner drive. It's probably about a 2.5-star rating if I could do fractions, but there were enough new and interesting ideas I learned from this book things to warrant a 3-star rating.

  14. 4 out of 5

    McGrouchpants. McGrouchpants!

    Shockingly, the title (neither about "hard power" takeover nor cyber- and economic-invasion, but centrifugal pull) is wholly borne out in its provocativeness by the evidence patiently laid out by the author: a cumulative revelation-fest of how, yes, the cards are stacking up this way. The idea that the United States could end up like England or France (-ish), rather than towering or toppled into a dystopian mess, isn't very "sexy" — but, this is what separates those who know better (i.e., "those Shockingly, the title (neither about "hard power" takeover nor cyber- and economic-invasion, but centrifugal pull) is wholly borne out in its provocativeness by the evidence patiently laid out by the author: a cumulative revelation-fest of how, yes, the cards are stacking up this way. The idea that the United States could end up like England or France (-ish), rather than towering or toppled into a dystopian mess, isn't very "sexy" — but, this is what separates those who know better (i.e., "those who 'think' better") from those prone to hysterical pronouncements that they may not mean, anyway. A welcome corrective to blitheness and paranoia, this book meticulously maps out what emerging potentialities are looking to be well-nigh unavoidable in the decades to come. (Needless to say, I peruse The Epoch Times with more avid interest after reading this book!) Helpful even beyond the immediate: it's a good work-out for how you process History (and we could all use one of those, could we not?).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    "Since 1945 the United States has been the world’s dominant power. ... The baton of pre-eminence, before being passed to the United States, had been held by Europe, especially the major European nations like Britain, France and Germany, and previously, to a much lesser extent, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. ... According to projections by Goldman Sachs, as shown in Figure 1, the three largest economies in the world by 2050 will be China, followed by a closely matched America and India some way "Since 1945 the United States has been the world’s dominant power. ... The baton of pre-eminence, before being passed to the United States, had been held by Europe, especially the major European nations like Britain, France and Germany, and previously, to a much lesser extent, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. ... According to projections by Goldman Sachs, as shown in Figure 1, the three largest economies in the world by 2050 will be China, followed by a closely matched America and India some way behind, and then Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Indonesia."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shailesh Wasti

    Can Beijing be the next global capital? Why the massive continental size of the country and the population will be the prominent factors for China to "rule the world"? Martin Jaques has obviously better assessment than any other writers. Worth reading! Can Beijing be the next global capital? Why the massive continental size of the country and the population will be the prominent factors for China to "rule the world"? Martin Jaques has obviously better assessment than any other writers. Worth reading!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex Scroxton

    Outstanding, but in need of an update.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jao Bautista

    In the last month alone, articles involving China are heavily present in the news sites that I follow: From the extradition bill being fought in HK, the projected political climate in the upcoming Taiwan election, the increasing presence of Chinese military in the Philippine-owned islands, the Huawei espionage controversy in the US, the alleged separation of children from their Muslim families in Xinjiang; to the big investments in renewable energy, the huge solar and wind energy deals, the the In the last month alone, articles involving China are heavily present in the news sites that I follow: From the extradition bill being fought in HK, the projected political climate in the upcoming Taiwan election, the increasing presence of Chinese military in the Philippine-owned islands, the Huawei espionage controversy in the US, the alleged separation of children from their Muslim families in Xinjiang; to the big investments in renewable energy, the huge solar and wind energy deals, the the involvement of Beijing’s in the global fight against global warming. And in the last year, my neighborhood in the city has exponentially grown its Chinese population from residents, to tourists, to businesses. Politics, military, economics, foreign affairs, and culture. That’s already covering all the major areas that influence the world I live in, and pillars that shape the entire planet. So, for my #1SetofBooksAmonth, I am choosing two books on foreign affairs - the first is me choosing to broaden and deepen my knowledge about China’s imminent rise to global power, with the intent to arrive at a place of better understanding of China: how it sees itself, how its people see China, and how China and its people see the rest of the world. “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order” is a masterful 700-plus-page long comprehensive, far-sighed view of where we are now and where we’re going, but consider it an easy read for anyone who is curious to follow the logical thread of historical, political, cultural, and economic events—both in local and global scale—that has lead us to this moment when China is already set to rule the world. The author, Martin Jacques, is a renowned economics professor at the London School of Economics, and a visiting professor at a host of universities in China, learning schools in Singapore, and research institutes in Japan. Shookt was the world during the 2008 financial crisis, displacing some tectonic plates of power that once fastened the US at a stable position. Like a fissure has just cracked, this event exposed China’s strong economic position that’s the product of its long, low-key but steady road toward modernity. Since that point, China’s GDP rise has never looked back. Moreover, according to projections by multinational investment bank Goldman Sachs, in 2025, China’s economy will be almost the same size as the US (context: considering that China has an even far bigger population than the US!), and in 2050, that national economy will have overtaken the US, times two. What does this mean? That China is indeed set to dictate a new global order where US and the rest of the EU systems take the backseat. Let’s get one thing straight: China is not a rich country; by global standards, is still a relatively poor developing country. But as history has showed us, world dominance is not determined by apparent wealth, or military power or politics, but economic control. (In that same 2025 and 2050 graph of growth of national economies, PH is at 18ish, then 16ish respectively.) The book begins by first establishing our universal notion of global power and how this notion has been, by default, founded or defined by US and EU – a homogenous Westphilian system (Tama naman.) “The US dominated all key global institutions, and enjoyed military presence in every part of the world. It’s global position seemed unassailable that terms like ‘hyperpower’ and ‘unipolarity’ were coined to describe that appeared to be a new and unique form of power. We are so accustomed to dealing with the paradigms and parameters of the contemporary world that we inevitably take them for granted, believing that they are set in concrete rather than themselves being the subject of longer-run cycles of historical change […] We are so used to the world being Western, even American, that we have little idea what it would be like if it was not. The West, moreover, has a strong vested interest in the world being cast in its image, because this brings multifarious benefits. As a matter of course, hegemonic powers seek to project their values and institution on to subordinate nations and the latter, in response, will, depending on circumstances, adapt or genuflect toward their ways; if they don’t, hegemonic powers generally seek to impose those values and arrangements on them, even by force.” The author then bends those notions as the foundation for forming certain assumptions about the definition of modernity: “There has been an assumption by the Western mainstream that there is only one way of being modern, namely by adopting Western-style institutions, values, customs and beliefs, such as [globalization], rule of law, the free market, and democratic norms. This, one might add, is an attitude typically held by peoples and cultures who regard themselves as more developed and more ‘civilized’ than others: the progress for those who ar lower down on the developmental scale involves them becoming more like those who are higher up […] As countries reach western levels of development, do they become more like the West? […] The nature of modernity is that rather than there being a single way of being modern, we are witnessing the birth of a world of multiple and competing modernities. This will be a new and novel feature of the twenty-first century, ushering in an era of what I characterize as contested modernity.” Then setting those assumptions about modernity against the current realities about China, and how those assumptions don’t fit. “It is inconceivable, however, that China will become a Western-style nation in the manner to which we are accustomed […] In the first place, China should not be seen as a nation-state […] China also has a different notion of race to that held by the other most populous nations, notably India, Indonesia, Brazil and the US […] Westphilian nation-state system is also colonial whereas could it be possible that the tributary system would return to the region? […] Finally, the most single important characteristic of China concerns its unity. [Historically, while Roman Empire was fragmenting] China was moving in the opposite direction, acquiring a unity which has lasted until the present. The result is a single country that is home to a huge slice of humanity. This profoundly affects how it sees the rest of the world as well as providing it with – potentially at least – exceptional power.” Which begs the question, how then will the world be like when China rules it. When, not if. Will it accept the international system as presently constituted, or seek a fundamental change in the system as it heralds the birth of a new international order? The succeeding chapters take the reader through pillars of understanding that support the argument that China being a world power will not be in a way that US, or the Westphilian system, is. The sections of the book take us through China’s history and civilization, the Chinese as a people, the tributary system, Middle Kingdom Mentality, China’s relationship to the rest of East Asia. The concluding chapter discuss the eight differences that define China: (1) That China should not be seen as a nation-state in the way the traditional world powers, like the US, are nation-states, instead, it’s a civilization-state; (2) That China, therefore, is likely to be influenced by the tributary-state system of East Asia, and not by the nation-state system; (3) That China has a distinctive attitude toward race and ethnicity, not just cultural and historical but biological; (4) That China continues and will continue to operate on a different continental-sized canvas—combination of population size and surface area—that’s unlike any other nation states ; (5) That the nature of Chinese polity is highly specific, drawn from a history of Confucianism and Communism; (6) That the Chinese brand of modernity, like other East Asian modernities, is distinguished by the speed of the country’s transformation; (7) That China, since 1947, has been ruled by a Communist regime; (8) That China, for several decades to come, will combine the characteristics of both a developed and developing country. Apart from these eight, China is also displaying what is termed as ‘soft power’ - a kind of non-economy infiltrations to international cultural and behavioural realities, in the same way that US has given the world jeans, Hollywood, and Michael Jordan. “China, in fact, will be the first great world power that comes from the ‘wrong’ side of the great divide in the world during the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century, a creature of the colonized [referring to ‘century of humiliation’ under Japan] rather than the colonizers, the losers rather than the winners […] In light of these eight characteristics, it is clear that Chinese modernity will be very different from Western modernity, and that China will transform the world far more fundamentally than any other new global power in the last two centuries […] China is the elephant in the room that no one is quite willing to recognize. As a result, an extraordinary shift in the balance of global power is taking place almost by stealth […] China has appeared an outsider patiently and loyally seeking to become an insider. As a rising power, it has been obliged to converge with and adapt to and mollify the present superpower, the US, since the latter’s cooperation and tacit support have been preconditions to China’s wider acceptance. China has struggled long and hard since 1978 to become an accepted member of the international community with the privileges and advantages that this confers.” The author argues that that the Western world is coming to an end, and that the new world in foreseeable future will NOT be Chinese in a way that the previous one (U.S.) was a hegemonic ‘Western’ system. However, China, as the new influential super power, will enjoy a growing global hegemony and in time is likely to become, by far, the most dominant country in the world. Now, here's what I think: As of my last count, Cannes Advertising Festival 2019 had nine talks dedicated to China, Chinese businesses, Chinese market, Chinese creativity. Should we start preparing for advertising award shows that don’t pander to Western concepts, styles, sentiments, and humor? #WhenChinaRulesTheWorld #MartinJacques #FullyBooked

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Just mentioning that I have read Martin Jacque's book will probably lead to my being accused of suffering from some sort of Cassandra complex, either because people do not regard Jacque's predictions about geopolitics to be realistic, or because they view his predictions as not being inevitable, or because they do not regard geopolitics as particularly important. On the other hand, many people may find Jacque's analysis particularly compelling and particularly accute. Many people may have arrive Just mentioning that I have read Martin Jacque's book will probably lead to my being accused of suffering from some sort of Cassandra complex, either because people do not regard Jacque's predictions about geopolitics to be realistic, or because they view his predictions as not being inevitable, or because they do not regard geopolitics as particularly important. On the other hand, many people may find Jacque's analysis particularly compelling and particularly accute. Many people may have arrived at Jacque's conclusions before I did, and many may not need Jacque to articulate for them the transformation of the world order that they have already witnessed. Jacque is the former editor of the now-defunct periodical Marxism Today. The reader might approach the book with trepidation, anticipating a paean to Communism, a protracted essay on the success of Marxism in China, or some such propaganda. That is not the case, here. On the contrary, Jacque describes China's form of government in rather inverted terms from how it describes itself. Instead of Communism with Chinese characteristics, Jacque describes it as Confucian with Communist nomenclature. At least in the post-Mao era, China has reinstated many of the traditional institutions under different names, recitifying some of the underlying weaknesses of Imperial China under the Qing. China, he says, "is not a conventional nation-state," and is rather a "civilization-state." It cannot be made to be more Western, because thousands of years of history have somehow insinuated themselves into the DNA of its people. On the contrary, writes Jacque, the rise of China has resurrected proclivities that were suppressed during its "Century of Humiliation" when European countries achieved economic takeoff, due to well-honed military traditions and proximity of resources necessary for industrialization, which led to partial colonization of China. "Economic take-off," as Jacque defines it, occurred in Europe prior to democratization, and only because geographic conditions promoted it. Whereas Europe and China had equivalent per capita GDP in the 17th century, Europe prospered while China's total economy remained roughly the same size until the 20th century. Nothing inherent about China or its Confucian system of government prevented it from eventually achieving take-off. Now that China has, its considerable population, political cohesion and compelling culture put it in a position to eventually surpass the West. Part of its advantage comes from the strongly reinforced, universal Chinese identity, and the rather permissive description of the vast majority the population as being of a single race, Han. Jacque notes that national identities usually have a racial component, and the strength of Chinese identity derives in part from the fact that the Chinese believe they are (mostly) Han. In his book, Dealing with China, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson notes that there was a long-standing effort within the US Congress to label China as a currency manipulator. Paulson called this effort counterproductive. Martin Jacque agrees, noting that China's artificial valuation of the RMB is propping up the US economy, and that one thing preventing the RMB from being the world's reserve currency is that it is not easily convertible. He hints that the origins of hostility toward China may lie in America's experience with Eastern European and Cuban communism. He writes that it is incorrect to associate China's Confucian state with all the same characteristics of the old Soviet Union, and yet these inaccurate perceptions continue. Among the predictions that Jacque makes (the book was written in 2009) for the next 50 years, China's RMB will become a reserve currency (this occurred in 2016), the United States and China will end up in a trade war (this occurred in 2019), China will become a "super power" (it is currently regarded as such in multiple publications). Additionally, there is a possibility that China's RMB will become the main reserve currency of the world, and China will likely become the dominant super power in the world. China will become a dominant military power. Mandarin Chinese will become the lingua franca of the world. The first Qin emeperor of China will become as familiar to non-Chinese as Thomas Jefferson. Jacque provides a comprehensive, wide-ranging perspective on China's rise from the point of view of a Briton who has already ceded the field to the upstart Americans. The rise of America, he argues, was rather less traumatic for Britain because America was perceived as an ideological successor to the European countries. By comparison, the rise of China is going to be traumatic for America because China is not a successor to the same tradition. Whereas London was once known as the capital of the world, New York has now taken that moniker, and Beijing will likely succeed it. Jacque expects the US response to be "ugly," though he does not spell out everything that might go wrong. There is the possibility of military conflict in the South China Sea and the Sea of Japan, as waning American power leads to a bitter contest for Taiwan and Japan. As is my custom, I will here depart from a review of the book and proceed with my own editorializing. I have been studying China since 1995, when the China was just beginning to realize how consequential its modernization would be for world energy production and the environment. I have studied Chinese art and art history, dynastic history, the Taiping Rebellion, the Asia-Pacific War, Mao, Deng, Chinese television and film. On my first visit to China in 2007, I was impressed by Shanghai and Beijing and their sheer size. On subsequent visits, I witnessed China's raw economic power as the Jing Mao tower, the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Shanghai Tower were added to the Pudong skyline in just a few short years. On one particular visit to the park near the Hangzhou Intercontinental Hotel in Jianggan, I was struck by how much it reminded me of Chicago's Millenium Park. I started to realize, in fact, that it was larger than Millenium Park. And more modern. I was attracted to the title of Jacque's book because it gave voice to my growing conviction that China has ten more Chicagos waiting to be discovered. In 2009, Martin Jacque predicted that America would realize that China had benefited from a globalized economy much more than America had, and there would be a rise in protectionist influences in the US government. He could not have predicted these influences would manifest themselves in the person of President Trump, but he was absolutely correct about the forces that brought Trump to power. President Obama attempted to "pivot" to Asia with the expansive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), to use soft power to further American interests near China's sphere of influence, and reduce the amount of hard power required to maintain American interests in the Middle East. The Trump administration has torpedoed TPP, on protectionist grounds, but has failed to provide most governments in Asia with any alternative than to grow closer to China. At the same time, Trump has withdrawn American hard power from the Middle East and ripped up the framework for keeping Iran's nuclear program in check. This has cleared the road for China's influence in and through the Middle East, all the way to Africa. Jacque predicts that the United States will find it more expensive to maintain a military presence abroad, and as if acting on this queue, Trump has weakened military alliances by drawing down troops in Western Europe and threatening to remove them from Korea. The Trump administration labeled China a currency manipulator, decertified Hong Kong's independence, and has engaged in several rounds of tariffs in a protracted trade war. It seems to me that the United States is setting up China as a perminant scapegoat for its internal troubles. While clumsily trying to disengage their two economies, Trump is promoting enmity toward China while also removing the leverage that America could use to remain economically competitive. It would be far more desirable to maintain a friendly rivalry, reaping the mutual benefits of trade and cultural exchange. Instead, the current policy seems to have the effect only of isolating the United States and hastening its decline, and hiding that fact from the American heartland. We are witnessing the ugliness that Jacque predicted. In the light of rising Chinese influence, which is an inevitable consequence of rising Chinese economic capability, the US has accused international organizations of improprietous solicitude toward China. The most notable recent example is America's planned withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) over accusations that the WHO helped China cover up the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak. Viewed in the light of America's diminishing relevance, we can expect many more international organizations, which the US helped to set up, to be accused of being puppets for China. In my opinion, the greatest causualty of America's decline will be the loss of moral purpose, which again has found its manifestation in the person of President Trump. Clarion calls for America to curb its carbon emissions will be replaced with accusations that China is not doing its part. We may even crank up our fossil-fuel based production in the name of remaining economically competitive. Support for American intervention on behalf of oppressed peoples and in favor of democratic rule will give way to a monomaniacal focus on the lack of popular sovereignty in China. Lack of government transparency in China, and criticism of China's internal security apparatus, will be used as an excuse to ignore infringement on the rights of American citizens. Just a few weeks ago, the Trump administration argued that NBA players protesting police violence in America are hypocrites, by pointing out that the NBA has not been sufficiently critical of China with respect to its legal rule in Hong Kong. Without the benefit of another thousand years in relative isolation, the United States will not attain the level of historical richness or plausible ethnic homogeneity that China has. We are a civic nation, amalgamated from people around the world, unified by the dedication to a very short list of principles. Chief among these principles is Liberty, which is apportioned to us equally, regardless of our regional or genetic origins. Our dedication to this principle has been exalted as our greatest asset, even as the struggle to live up to its demands has been unending and, in the year 2020, unusually difficult. In light of the global reorganization that has been happening, it is hard not to view our fractured polity as anything but a liability. Whether we Americans remain competitive, among the top two nations, if not the top one, may depend on our ability to marshal the resources and resolve of the people to address our existential problems. To do this, we must find a way to impart to our citizens the same sense of belonging and pride that is evident among Chinese mainlanders around the world today. For most of my life, I have conceived of America as a civilization state, like China. Americans believe our shared principles are of divine origin, and these principles, much like our particular racial origins, cannot be removed. Americans believe these principles are universal; one does not need to be IN America to be American. Americans believe we constitute an essential nation. It is only when I perceive our elected leaders placing narrow, short-term interests ahead of our unifying principles, fomenting disunity among us, denying the universality of these principles, that I begin to question whether we could ever be a civilization. The competition with China will reveal much.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    Although this book reads like a Chinese propaganda manifesto, it provides valuable insight into the current state of international relations. However, one must read it with the recognition that this author, although British, is a hard-core communist and has been a member of the communist party since age 18. The author has been the long term editor of the magazine Marxism Today and is intent upon casting the West as a pompous Scrooge-like, fat-cat, riding through streets littered with the exploit Although this book reads like a Chinese propaganda manifesto, it provides valuable insight into the current state of international relations. However, one must read it with the recognition that this author, although British, is a hard-core communist and has been a member of the communist party since age 18. The author has been the long term editor of the magazine Marxism Today and is intent upon casting the West as a pompous Scrooge-like, fat-cat, riding through streets littered with the exploited and impoverished peoples of the world. The whole scope of the book is a premature celebration of this Fat-cat’s demise, and the naïve expectation that its successors will usher in utopia. Hyped Propaganda Jacques writes as an unabashed cheerleader for China, with language that is so obviously embellished that it eventually grows painfully redundant. Like most mainstream liberals of today, Jacques finds it hard to say anything good about the United States or anything derogatory about China. It’s interesting how Western communists, like this author, can somehow relish in their own abundance while supporting regimes like China, that afflict their broader populations with austerity. If you should choose to wade through these 600 pages, get ready to tolerate Jacques redundantly hailing the current upsurge in Chinese manufacturing, like a hypnotic mantra, while rarely, if ever, acknowledging the impoverished Chinese peasants, upon who’s backs the inexpensive production is built. Jacques seems to think that the vast Chinese population is reason enough to justify its exploitation in sweat shops. While China may indeed overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy, its GDP per capita will remain very low. Caught up fully in the euphoria of his lifetime devotion to communism, this author unwaveringly asserts that China will usher in a New World Order, without giving the slightest glance of gratitude for the unprecedented accomplishments of the United States or the Western world in general. The most obvious omission of this book is deafening in its absence: the resounding actuality that the Chinese are governed by a social system developed by a Westerner, namely Karl Marx, who was of German descent! This author doesn’t even give the West credit for formulating the very system of government upon which the Chinese State operates today! The Truth About Economic Productivity A strong economy and high GDP are a result of energizing the populace to work, produce, and invest. As more goods and services are produced, the relative wealth of a populace should increase, unless a controlling elite is sifting off and hoarding too much of the profits. Retraction occurs, not only because of hoarding, but also because of stagnation, fear and laziness. While the United States is presently dealing with a spoiled citizenry that has grown fat off of its enormous wealth, it would be a severe mistake to discount the vitality, endurance, and ambition of its citizenry. Aside from the Africans, who were brought to the U.S. forcefully, the United States was largely populated by outcasts, who migrated here because of their ambition and capacity for self-reliance, amidst extreme adversity. These are not the sorts of people who are inclined toward subservience and this authors expectation that they will somehow pay homage to China, within an anachronistic tributary system, is quite absurd. But Americans must learn to respect their duly elected leaders. The current fad in America to denigrate their politicians is counter-productive and certainly polarized to the sort of reverence the Chinese pay to their government. In contrast, the modern Chinese state is unified and hungry, currently mobilizing itself all around the world. Conversely, American democracy is flawed by the idea that the “mob” somehow knows best. However, just as China has gravitated out of communism toward free markets, the West may similarly gravitate toward more practical forms of democracy, particularly those that do not involve the ridiculousness of universal suffrage. The U.S. cannot allow itself to retain a static model of governance, based upon the immutability of 200-year old documents, because evolution in policy is essential. The extreme vacillations between liberal and conservative administrations in the U.S. is chaotic and undermines any sort of long-term strategic plan. However, the United States is still in its youth, and the young sometimes make mistakes as they grow. Conversely, China is in its old age, attempting to dress itself up in the clothing of a youngster and pretending to be something it’s not. While this author seeks to attribute some sort of ethnic superiority upon Asians, by virtue of the speed of their economic transformation, he fails to recognize that the current ascendance of Asians is along a trail blazed for them by the West. China has been fundamentally changed by the infusions of diversity offered to it by the West. Why Not Global Cooperation? Much more enormous power lies untapped, waiting to be unleased through the synthesis and fusion of world cultures. Perhaps the most dramatic of these will be the emergence of a global monetary system, such that the supply of money is not controlled by any one nation, but is rather a legitimate function of exchange, backed by the extent of goods and services available in the world. Think of it as the “GDP standard” instead of the “gold standard”. The result will be the accumulation of wealth with those who produce and a removal of wealth from those who exist parasitically on the system via currency manipulation and mere passive investment. A more optimistic perspective than that offered by this author is that the world will come to be governed more virtuously, as a result of the synthesis that technology brings between cultures, such that governments do indeed become “for the people”, to the extent possible, without relinquishing reward for “merit”, hard work, creativity and entrepreneurialism. In contrast, this author castigates the West for its history of colonialism and praises the Chinese for its historically insular attitudes of self-containment. This is perhaps the most obvious genetic difference between Eastern and Western peoples, in that the Western ethnicity has demonstrated a great propensity for exploration, adventure and creativity. Genetic Differences The gene of restlessness, and the tendency toward exploration, is what brought a specific sort of people out of Africa and into the European continent in the first place; and that same sort of restlessness still motivates Western people-groups toward world empire. This author’s idea that this genetic strain is going to be suddenly plunged into subservience lacks any sort of historical or biological support. Need we remind this author that those whom the Chinese refer to as “barbarians” actually formulated the Greek City States, established then defeated the Roman Empire, established the British Empire, nearly conquered the world under Germanic aggression, and have ruled the world amicably in the form of the pluralistic United States ever since! Granted, Chinese civilization is ancient, but it has also been historically insular, withdrawn, and self-contained. In fact, this author is forced to begin this book by making excuses for China’s slow rise in economic prowess; and later fails to acknowledge that its present rise is sustained by exploitation of huge segments of its population. The author suggests that the ultimately impotent historical voyages of Zheng He, between 1405-1433, portray the general Chinese dissatisfaction with diverse cultures; and the instilled belief that the Chinese homeland is the center of civilization. On the contrary, the inconsequential Zheng He voyages portray a lack of ambition and an unwillingness to entertain little other than homesickness. The shock of the vast diversity of the world was overwhelming to Zheng He and the Chinese; so their response was to hole-up into the generic nature of their own insular culture, afraid that it might be mutated by interaction with those abroad. The absence of the dynamism of diversity is what has kept the Chinese impoverished into present times and it is only via opening itself up to the world that it finds ascendance. And yet, even now, the benefits of that ascendance are not trickling down to the vast number of its impoverished citizenry, whose lives are burdened with exploitive work. Diversity is introduced and sustained through individualism, a trademark of the West, which Jacques disparages in favor of his ingrained concept of generic unity and the bland sort of communism that has never worked effectively anywhere in the world. It sickens me to so often see the castigation of the bourgeoisie in today’s popular literature, which is rarely praised for its work-ethic, endurance, creativity and intelligence. The communist mindset is that one should be given things like education, health-care, sustenance, housing and the like, in exchange for their commitment to a life of assigned, predetermined work, which may or may not fit with their personal desires. Such is a violation of human nature. The gene of ambition divides humanity. From the earliest, primitive times, there were those who favored starving to death by the dwindling campfire and those who favored embarking upon the hunt, even amidst the freezing cold. And it is the willingness of the ambitious to share the fruits of the hunt with the less motivated that has sustained the more passive gene into modernity. This situation has not changed that much, except that in modernity the communists want to legally demand a portion of the proceeds of the hunt, upon which they did not participate, as a legal right, as opposed to receiving it in gratitude from the successful hunters. They persistently seek to overthrow the successful without ever acquiring the skills necessary to produce. Benevolence Does Not Signal Weakness China is successful because the United States has introduced it into the world’s system of exchange, concerned about the undeveloped nature of its population. More than half of the Chinese still reside in the countryside, amidst vast poverty. Instead of recognizing this as a virtuous endeavor, this author is emblazoned with the fetish that the undeveloped may utilize the gratuitousness of its benefactor to gain control of the world! And control of the world is what lies at the heart of every communist, who envisions an equality achieved by seizing and dividing the assets of the industrious; never recognizing that accumulation is what motivates the industrious to produce. The industrious do not mind sharing, so long as it is a sharing that is made of their own volition; but when the reward for their industriousness is removed, they will cease to be industrious. If the hunters are suddenly confronted with the fact that they will only gain a few bites of the meat they kill, with the rest rapidly consumed by passive babies who are unwilling to confront the cold, they will soon depart or cease to hunt. The motive of success is what drives them. Not only the success of accumulating assets, but also the recognition that comes from their ability to succeed. The successful hunter wants to be praised when he returns with food for all and to be assured that the storehouse is full. Removing these motivations only impoverishes broader society by reducing the incentive to produce. This is not a conversation about whether or not it is virtuous for the successful hunter to want to be praised or to accumulate resources. Rather, it is a conversation about human nature and the sort of things that result in the greatest productivity for all, which is clearly not communism. In fact, the present successes of China involves movements away from communism and an embracing of the free market. The successful hunter grows in virtue through time and through his volitional willingness to share, teach, and enjoy widespread social ascendance. The successful hunter is paralyzed by and flees from enforced equality, because it seeks to kill his spirit, vis-à-vis, Ayn Rand. Conclusion This author, faced with the historical proof that his life-long embracement of communism is flawed, seeks to somehow re-justify communism by inflating China in the face of the West, without adequately recognizing that China’s success is anchored in the free market. As a result, what we get here are profuse, ramblings, redundant speculations, and piles of bias, throughout 600 painful pages that could just have easily been condensed into 300. And, by the way, the concept of the paragraph seems to be entirely lost upon this author. The book reads as if the author is so caught up in the euphoria of his profuse ramblings that he lacks the ability to even pause long enough to start a new paragraph. This book raves on and on with a constant repetition of the same assertions over and over, as if the intent is to brainwash, as opposed to concisely communicating ideas. As the reader approaches the last 100 pages, there will be a tendency to become incensed with the exhausting repetitiveness of it all. This is particularly painful when reading the afterward. Prognosticators, such as this author, are all too often inclined to predict the future on the basis of the past; here, erroneously thinking Chinese growth will result in an ascendency akin to that demonstrated by the United States over the last 200 years. But, as we’ve witnessed time and time again, the future insists upon surprising us with unexpected occurrences. This author loses optimism because of his unabated joy in anticipating an American decline, to the extent that he largely ignores the possibility of future international cooperation on an unprecedented scale. The impact of technology is increasing the levels of individual education and awareness; and the continued growth of this sort of popular enlightenment will work to diminish the sort of historical conflicts that have paralyzed world unity. Populations do not embroil themselves in international conflicts in the same way that small, elite governing factions do. As the power of populations becomes increasingly expressive, there will be a greater impetus for global cooperation and peace. The only way to alleviate the poverty of the enormous populations in countries like India and China is to increase their GDP. It is unfortunate that American efforts to do just that have to be met with the sort of garish pictures painted by this author, which only serve to instill fears that disrupt world relations. -End-

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrewh

    As the hypebolic marketing-speak title indicates, this is not an attempt at a balanced view of the much-discussed Rise of China - in parts, it is more like one of those colour supplements you used to get in the Sunday newspaper, extolling the virtues of investing in Belarussia or some such authoritarian paradise ('enjoy our fully flexible labour force!'). Jacques outlines the inevitable rise of China as an economic power well and this was engaging enough, especially the bits about the two-speed As the hypebolic marketing-speak title indicates, this is not an attempt at a balanced view of the much-discussed Rise of China - in parts, it is more like one of those colour supplements you used to get in the Sunday newspaper, extolling the virtues of investing in Belarussia or some such authoritarian paradise ('enjoy our fully flexible labour force!'). Jacques outlines the inevitable rise of China as an economic power well and this was engaging enough, especially the bits about the two-speed economy within the PRC itself, with a developing hinterland to which capital investment is moving, for the cheaper labour, a process that seems to hold within it the seeds of social discord, perhaps. But then he goes on to make further claims about the chances of Chinese global hegemony which I found a lot less convincing - hegemony being the IR equivalent of 'ruling the world', albeit not literally. The main claim here, and the most dubious, is that China is not a nation-state in the traditional, Westphalian manner, but a 'civilisation masquerading as a state', and therefore totally different, from, say, other great powers such as the USA, Russia or even the UK. The evidence for this is that it has endured for 5000 years and has always considered itself to be the centre of the world, and the superior race and culture (sounds like good old exceptionalism to me). Also, it has a mono-ethnic constituency of Han Chinese, and a Confucian tradition, which means the state has always been central to the life of the people - as such, the rule of the Communist Party is not seen as being out of sync with the state-centric tradition, says Jacques. This implies that the expecation of the West that a growing middle class will demand democracy is likely to be a chimera, and, furter, that we should expect a dominant China to remake the international system in its image, as the US did after WWII. Here Jacques invokes the ancient 'tributary' system, based on the hierarchy of states (with China at the top), but it is unclear why advanced modern states such as Japan and Korea would want to fall in line with this, other than for economic reasons. Likewise, given the US strategic 'pivot' towards Asia, it is not clear how Chinese economic influence will transmute into military power - the US is hugely stronger militarily at present - and this is clearly a part of hegemonic power. Technology transfer will narrow this gap, as will sheer numbers, but it will take a long time before any power can threaten US military power, either in the air or at sea. Similiary, a key element of post-1945 US hegemony is its overwhelming soft power, based on the dominance of its cultural exports - this is likely to be challenged of course, but it will take time, given the dominance of English in the music, film and academic worlds. The thesis is perhaps over-stated but the general theme is a movement away from a Western-centric world and that is fairly hard to argue with - it is a shame that the author was not able to offer a less sensationalist and more academically balanced work on this topic. And it really is not necessary to re-state the thesis in almost every chapter, and many many times, to the point of numbing the brain of the reader. Please, do some editing Penguin.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alesa

    This book is absolutely brilliant. In a style that is both scholarly and readable, the author shows that China has already overtaken the West, and will continue to do so both economically and culturally. And we Americans are so parochial that we won't even know what hit us. He has eight main points that support his thesis. 1) China is not a nation as we perceive it, but rather a civilization, with an unbroken history of at least 3,000 years. So we shouldn't try to make it fit our political model This book is absolutely brilliant. In a style that is both scholarly and readable, the author shows that China has already overtaken the West, and will continue to do so both economically and culturally. And we Americans are so parochial that we won't even know what hit us. He has eight main points that support his thesis. 1) China is not a nation as we perceive it, but rather a civilization, with an unbroken history of at least 3,000 years. So we shouldn't try to make it fit our political models. 2) China will probably relate to the rest of East Asia as in its past, where other countries are in a tributary relationship, recognizing China's inherent superiority. It's won't try to colonize, in other words, or to remake nations in its own model. They'll just have to pay homage and admit Chinese hegemony. 3) The Chinese attitude toward race and ethnicity has always been that they're superior. They see this as cultural, historical, and also biological. Think about that one, all you red-neck Americans, when China holds our purse strings! 4) China operates on a continental-sized canvas. It's huge, geographically as well as in population. It has really diverse populations within it. So we should think of it as an entire continent, not just as a country. 5) The Chinese have always had a very powerful state. This reflects their Confucian history. Even in its Communist form, the state never shared power with anyone else (like a church or merchant class). The state is venerated above society,and they think this is as it should be. 6) Chinese modernity is different than ours because it's happening so FAST. So they embrace the new in a way that we can't even fathom, much like a child picking up how to use a Nintendo machine. 7) China will probably continue to be Communist, but in a Confucian way totally unlike the Soviet Union. We should stop judging them for this and just accept that maybe democracy isn't the path for everybody. 8) China will be both developed and developing for some time, because it will take at least 50 years for it to become fully industrialized. So it will be like a First World country in the big cities, and like a Third World country in the rural areas. The author says that China will transform the world far more fundamentally than any other new global power in the last two centuries, and that they are the elephant in the room that nobody is willing to recognize. Yet. Every American who says they're educated should read this book. And then start learning Mandarin.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Trena

    For such a long book, this tome has surprisingly little content, nor is it at all enjoyable to read. I shouldn't have finished it. Theoretically, the book is an examination of China's history and economy with the aim of preparing Westerners for the worldwide cultural shifts that will occur when China becomes the largest economy and then *really* takes off. I have some anxiety around this (one thing I did get out of the book is that being an American is hard, because we're the superpower--smaller For such a long book, this tome has surprisingly little content, nor is it at all enjoyable to read. I shouldn't have finished it. Theoretically, the book is an examination of China's history and economy with the aim of preparing Westerners for the worldwide cultural shifts that will occur when China becomes the largest economy and then *really* takes off. I have some anxiety around this (one thing I did get out of the book is that being an American is hard, because we're the superpower--smaller European economies have already come out the other side of the anxiety of not being on top) as well as a general interest in the global economy. This book was recommended as written by a Sinophile and neither hysterical nor alarmist. That much is true at any rate. While it gives a decent, though extremely cursory, overview of China's history and path to industrialization so far, the book offers virtually nothing by way of describing the possible future. Jacques is obsessed with the fact that China is a civilization-state rather than a nation-state, but doesn't articulate how that will change things. He dwells on the historical relationship among Asian economies, with China at the head and others as tribute states and posits that the New World Order will be based on this tribute system. But he doesn't actually explain the tribute relationship. It *sounds* like the states had to acknowledge China's superiority and maybe pay literal tribute money/goods (but the latter was fuzzy). Well, that's not really any different from a superpower arrangement--many of the world's governments make decisions based on what the anticipated US response will be. The editing was fairly terrible. First there were the excessively long paragraphs--most pages were a single paragraph, in dense small text. More white space would have made it a more readable book. More substantively, the charts were not well labeled at all, particularly the charts relating to attitudinal surveys. They weren't dated, and the descriptions of the questions were so short and vague that the charts were meaningless. On the plus side, the chapter on Japan's industrialization was interesting and well-written. I'm frustrated that I spent 3 weeks reading this terrible book and I still know very little about China's economy or culture.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wesley Gerrard

    This is an excellent study of China and its position in the modern world. The author explores the rise of China's power, through history and into the future. China will be the biggest power in the global economy and this book projects how the new world will look. It examines Chinese attitudes to the world, the rate of development in China, and how China will treat the rest of the world as it assumes its position in the number 1 spot, currently held by the USA. A key factor which the author const This is an excellent study of China and its position in the modern world. The author explores the rise of China's power, through history and into the future. China will be the biggest power in the global economy and this book projects how the new world will look. It examines Chinese attitudes to the world, the rate of development in China, and how China will treat the rest of the world as it assumes its position in the number 1 spot, currently held by the USA. A key factor which the author constantly identifies, in how China differs from previous world powers, is that China is not just a nation-state in the Westphalian sense, but a 'civilisation-state'. It is continental in terms of its landmass and holds 20% of the world's population. It has a rich 5000 year old history and is much less imperialistic in its attitude to foreign countries as the great powers which have preceded it. There are vast differences in how a world with China at its head will appear. The Western illusion will be shattered and countries will become ever more dependent upon a developed China. The study contains many fascinating statistics which prove the author's thoughts and ideas. It introduces many topics which I had previously not really appreciated, such as the Chinese racial views on the world and also the dependency of Western Oceania countries such as Australia and New Zealand on the Chinese economy. As a sinophile, myself, I found the book thoroughly intriguing. It is unlike any other study I have read to date on China and offers a good glimpse into the future of the mother country. It is a question of when and not if, China becomes the biggest and most powerful nation on earth. It is scary to us in the West, what this may entail, but equally it is important that we ready ourselves for a new world order. This book provides ample preparation for anyone interested in what the growth of China means to them and how the world will change.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    Well this is the one book everyone should read. It should change your take on the future and make the future less of a shock when it happens. Jacques' interesting idea is that China is a 3000 year old civilization that until 1800 was probably the biggest economy in the world and by about 2025 it will be back in that role and that it will not do this by becoming a western clone. The western world is in for a big shock when its free market, democratic, individual rights model is challenged by a st Well this is the one book everyone should read. It should change your take on the future and make the future less of a shock when it happens. Jacques' interesting idea is that China is a 3000 year old civilization that until 1800 was probably the biggest economy in the world and by about 2025 it will be back in that role and that it will not do this by becoming a western clone. The western world is in for a big shock when its free market, democratic, individual rights model is challenged by a state bigger and potentially more powerful than it is. A state based on completely different Confucian cultural norms, Middle Kingdom racial superiority complex and a hybrid of hyper capitalism and strong state direction. This is so far outside the imagination of most Americans that there will be much blaming and cultural crisis/end of the world is nigh. A better approach would to work out a long term strategy to accommodate what seems inevitable and adapt. The Chinese have the overwhelming advantage of thinking strategically and long term. Chou En Lai was famously supposed to have answered the question: what is China's take on the French Revolution by saying it was too early to say. Is it too much to ask that the west will become similarly strategic and long term: yes probably it is as we move on deficient of attention to the next big thing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nilesh

    Write a review…A different book. Almost all the books I have read on China provide a Western perspective: what is likely to happen given the Western concepts of what is right and just, what should happen to keep Western values/hegemony intact, how West should shape China's growing powers etc or how according to Western experiences, China's political and economic future is going to be. This book provides the exact anti-thesis. As a result, the book is as biased as any one is likely to come across. Write a review…A different book. Almost all the books I have read on China provide a Western perspective: what is likely to happen given the Western concepts of what is right and just, what should happen to keep Western values/hegemony intact, how West should shape China's growing powers etc or how according to Western experiences, China's political and economic future is going to be. This book provides the exact anti-thesis. As a result, the book is as biased as any one is likely to come across. It needles, pokes and stabs with provocative and often unsubstantiated, grating assertions but it does provide a different perspective not only on events past and likely future but why our beliefs based on putative theories must be questioned. China is bound to have its own economic, political and ecological problems. Today's critics will jump to claim victory at those instances, but China's rise is not to be evaluated based on any outcome at a point in time. With China, the book quite comprehensively proves, the world is changing once again. We may want to still call it Western, Eastern or whatever name and some may not like it in competitive spirit, but most of the changes brought are not insidious the way they are often painted. Overall, the book should be read for a different perspective.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I finally gave up on this. I just couldn't suffer through the last 100-150 pages. While I agree with the thesis (that China's growing economic power will make it the most influential nation of the 21st century, and that this shift will have far reaching consequences that the world is only starting to feel), I was unable to get more than a couple of pages at a time before I found some other assertion by the author that was often (at best) unsupported by his previous text and occasionally (at wors I finally gave up on this. I just couldn't suffer through the last 100-150 pages. While I agree with the thesis (that China's growing economic power will make it the most influential nation of the 21st century, and that this shift will have far reaching consequences that the world is only starting to feel), I was unable to get more than a couple of pages at a time before I found some other assertion by the author that was often (at best) unsupported by his previous text and occasionally (at worst) clearly wrong. Instead of utilizing facts which did not support the book as a way to ask more probing questions, he continually tried to bring them full circle and convince the reader that the facts actually DID support his theory, essentialy trying to bang a bunch of square pegs into round holes. His overreliance on anecdote did not help. That China will define the next century is nearly inevitable (likely to be avoided only by massive ecological disruption). If this book is the West's only roadmap to why this change has occurred, what it means for the world, and how to address the issues it raises, then we're going to have a tough time of it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    One of the main criticisms of this book is that it's repetitive. Now that I've read it, I agree. Some of the same points are made multiple times throughout the book. I found myself fighting to maintain my interest and attention. The detailed facts and figures about China's economy were perhaps overdone and unnecessary, especially since they were outdated the moment the book was published. This had the effect of making me feel as if I was reading an old magazine article. The best portions of the bo One of the main criticisms of this book is that it's repetitive. Now that I've read it, I agree. Some of the same points are made multiple times throughout the book. I found myself fighting to maintain my interest and attention. The detailed facts and figures about China's economy were perhaps overdone and unnecessary, especially since they were outdated the moment the book was published. This had the effect of making me feel as if I was reading an old magazine article. The best portions of the book were the insights into Japanese culture in the first part of the book and Chapter 8, which deals with racism and how the Chinese view themselves and others. Since I've read and written many articles about China's place in the financial world, I was already familiar with much of the material in the book. If somebody had no knowledge about China, then I suppose this might be a more engaging book (in spite of its dryness). But for me, I was just glad to get through it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    So this is one of those books that I felt was entirely too long/redundant, but read it to the end anyways. But there are a few enlightening points in here, for people unfamiliar with China and/or global economics (Which describes me a little bit. I think any politician harping on how China is stealing our jerbs should read this for sure). The main takeaways are how China's sense of uniqueness and self-importance will really shape international relations as the size of the country's economy grows So this is one of those books that I felt was entirely too long/redundant, but read it to the end anyways. But there are a few enlightening points in here, for people unfamiliar with China and/or global economics (Which describes me a little bit. I think any politician harping on how China is stealing our jerbs should read this for sure). The main takeaways are how China's sense of uniqueness and self-importance will really shape international relations as the size of the country's economy grows, and how unprecedented its economic power truly will be. Also, how Chinese attitudes towards things like race and democracy are pretty un-Western and won't change overnight (or any time, for that matter) just because USians find them distasteful.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ken Mattes

    The author, an avowed communist (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marti...) presents an interesting landscape of biased-perspective of information regarding the history and potential future of China in the future. Need to listen/read this book with a large grain of salt, but fascinating none the less. The author, an avowed communist (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marti...) presents an interesting landscape of biased-perspective of information regarding the history and potential future of China in the future. Need to listen/read this book with a large grain of salt, but fascinating none the less.

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