Martin Jacques delivered the talk below at the Abu Dhabi Ideas Weekend in March 2018. The talk was on how China’s Belt & Road Initiative will change the world.
In March 2018, the Abu Dhabi Ideas Weekend welcomed some of the brightest and most interesting minds from the UAE and around the world to discuss four of the most important moonshot challenges facing our planet. The event was inspired by the world-famous Aspen Ideas Festival that has been taking place in Colorado since 2005, as a place for scientists, artists, politicians, business leaders, historians and educators to discuss some of the most fascinating ideas of our time. The 2018 Abu Dhabi Ideas Weekend topics included: “Polarisation: Bridging the gaps”, “Cancer: An end in sight?”, “Artificial Intelligence: Our super-intelligent friend?” and “The Modern Silk Road: A new era of globalisation”.
In conversation with Martin Jacques is Julian Gewirtz, a Fellow in History and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
In this interview with Global Times, Martin Jacques, on the 40th anniversary of “reform and opening up”, reviews the significance of Deng Xiaoping’s historic initiative and China’s prospects in the light of the deteriorating relationship with the US in the era of Trump.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. what do you think of the role the reform and opening up has played in china’s extraordinary changes?
China’s transformation started in 1949, but only in 1978 did China’s economy start to take off in an extraordinary way. It was only then that the Chinese worked out what the appropriate economy strategy was for the country. This was the stroke of genius of Deng Xiaoping.What he proposed was very radical and represented a major shift in the communist tradition. Basically he said two things: firstly, socialism is not synonymous with the state and state planning,but that socialism had to combine both the state and the market. And secondly, he argued that China needed to see itself as part of the whole world, including the capitalist world. China had to live with and compete with and learn from the capitalist world, and not just the socialist world.
In October 2017, China’s 19th Party Congress adopted the ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’ – giving the Chinese leader a status unmatched except by Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
George Magnus, author of the new book, ‘Red Flags: Why Xi’s China is in Jeopardy’, joined the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival to discuss the implications of this “new era” for China. He was in conversation with Martin Jacques, author of the global bestseller ‘When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World,’ and Dr Yu Jie, Head of China Foresight at LSE.
Sinologist sees China changing the world
The following article was published in China Daily on October 10 2018.
China’s rapid growth since the reform and opening-up process began in 1978 has not only been an economic miracle for the nation, but it has also offered a new development model for other emerging economies, said Martin Jacques, author of the global bestseller When China Rules the World.
In doing so, China has proved the inaccuracy of the previous consensus that the Western model of development was the only path to success.
Effectively, Jacques said, China has inspired other emerging countries to explore development paths that are suitable for their own situations.
Part 8: Why are we threatened by the rise of China?
‘One reason people feel threatened by the rise of China is because actually they are very ignorant about China.’
In Part 8 of Martin Jacques on China (presented by CGTN),Martin Jacques wonders whether the West will ever make sense of the rise of China, and explains that concerns about a more aggressive China mainly arise from the Cold War hostility and Western ignorance.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was in Beijing in July on his first major overseas trip since taking office. The occasion, the 9th China-U.K. Strategic Dialogue, an event that serves to reinforce ties between the two countries.
Discussing the growing relationship between China and the United Kingdom on The Heat were Martin Jacques, senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University and author of When China Rules the World; Peter Ho, an economist and a research fellow at the London School of Economics; Philippe Le Corre, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School; Nathan King is a CGTN Correspondent based in Washington, D.C.
Can the West’s democracy survive China’s rise to dominance?
For long the West has thought that history is on its side, that the global future would and should be in its own image. With the end of the cold war and the implosion of the Soviet Union, this conviction became stronger than ever. The future was Western; nothing else was imaginable. Of course, already, well before the end of the cold war, in 1978 to be exact, China had started its epic modernisation such that, in the annals of history, 1978 will surely prove to be a far more significant year than 1989. During China’s rise, hubris continued to shape the West’s perception and understanding of China. As the latter modernised it would become increasingly Western, it was supposed: Deng’s reforms marked the beginning of the privatisation and marketisation of the Chinese economy—its political system would in time become Western, otherwise China would inevitably fail.
China is marking a major milestone this year. It is now 40 years since the country began to open up and launch economic reforms.
Today, China has been transformed. It has seen rapid economic development and has pulled more than 800 million people out of poverty. It is also playing a major role in the global economy and is a leader in promoting globalization and free trade. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping is promising more reform and opening up as the country plans for the next phase of development.
Discussing China’s 40 year transformation on The Heat were Pingkang Yu, the Chief Economist with Changjiang Pension Insurance Company; Perry Wong, the Managing Director of Research at the Milken Institute; Anil Gupta, a professor at the University of Maryland and Chairman of the China India Institute in Washington; and Martin Jacques, Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University.
Remembering Stuart Hall: new biography published in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Earlier this year, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography published its entry for Stuart Hall, written by Martin Jacques. The entry is reproduced here with kind permission of the ODNB and the OUP, and can also be accessed through their website.
Hall, Stuart McPhail (1932–2014), cultural theorist and political commentator, was born on 3 February 1932 in Kingston, Jamaica, the son of Herman McPhail Hall, accountant, and his wife, Jessie. He was of mixed African, Scottish, and Portuguese descent. He had a brother and sister, both of whom were older than him.
In his closing speech, President Xi Jinping pledged to serve the people of China. Xi addressed delegates at the National People’s Congress, as China’s most important political season comes to a close.
Discussing his address on The Heat were Victor Gao, an international affairs commentator and analyst; Song Zhang, the Washington bureau chief for Shanghai Wen Hui Daily; Fred Teng, the president of the America China Public Affairs Institute; and Martin Jacques, the author of “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order”.
The Belt and Road Initiative marks a new stage in China’s rise. Launched in 2013, it built on China’s going out strategy which took shape around the turn of the century. If the lines of continuity are clear, the differences are even starker. The going out strategy saw China developing closer relations with Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America, to name the most prominent. In contrast, the BRI is an overarching project designed to transform the Eurasian land mass, presently home to around two-thirds of the world’s population.
We have never seen the like of it before, a project on the grandest of scales and in that sense consonant with China’s own traditions.
As momentous historic events go, China’s reform period was relatively unheralded. Little did anyone realize at the time – probably no one, in fact – that 1978 would enter the history books as one of the most important years in modern history.
We should not be surprised. At the time, the Chinese economy was a mere one-twentieth of the size of the US economy, with a per capita GDP roughly on a par with that of Zambia, lower than half of the Asian average and lower than two-thirds of the African average. China’s impact on the world was very limited, even in East Asia.
In a New Year’s address, Chinese President Xi Jinping lauded the country’s accomplishments in 2017 and gave a road map for China’s priorities in 2018.
2017 has been a big year for China – from President Xi’s travels to Davos to hosting the first Belt and Road Initiative Forum to the 19th CPC Meeting. So what’s the outlook for the country this year?
To discuss President Xi’s speech and the future of China in 2018: Victor Gao, a Chinese international relations expert Dan Wang, a China analyst with The Economist Intelligence Unit; Martin Jacques, author of “When China Rules the World” and a senior fellow in politics and international studies at Cambridge University; Jacques deLisle, a professor and director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
The following is the English version of an article by Martin Jacques that appeared in the People’s Daily, 22nd December 2017.
At the end of 2017 uncertainty dominates the outlook for the future. As we can now see with great clarity, the Western financial crisis of 2007-8 proved the most important turning point in the West since 1945. For a decade, the Western economies have been mired in varying degrees of stagnation, not least with regard to living standards. And it was the Great Recession that begat the Great Populist Uprising in 2016. The latter signalled the end of the hegemony of neo-liberalism in the West, which began in 1980 with the arrival of Reagan and Thatcher and was characterised by hyper-globalisation, privatisation and a huge growth in inequality. The Uprising was driven by large swathes of the population in both the United States and Britain whose living standards had more or less stagnated for four decades. It was a popular revolt against the governing elites by those who felt left behind and who held these elites responsible for their deteriorating situation. Politically the new mood was articulated most clearly, though not solely, by the right, notably Trump in America and the Brexiteers in the UK.
A panel discussion on the eve of the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party broadcast by CGTN America. The participants are: Zhou Jingxin, Minister-Counselor and Chief of the Political Section at the Chinese Embassy in the United States; Keyu Jin, a professor at the London School of Economics; Martin Jacques, author of “When China Rules the World”; and Wang Guan, chief political correspondent for CCTV America.
Appearing on CGTN’s current affairs programme The Heat, Martin Jacques discusses the speech by Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, to the United Nations General Assembly, following President Trump earlier address, with: Qinduo Xu, a political analyst for China Radio International; Afshin Molavi, a senior fellow with the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Sourabh Gupta an Asia-Pacific international relations analyst and a Resident Senior Fellow with the Institute for China-America Studies.
Why Jeremy Corbyn is a new leader for the New Times
This article by Martin Jacques appeared in the New Statesman shortly after the results of the UK 2017 General Election. It has already received strong praise from many commentators: “I would literally read a bus ticket written by Martin Jacques – one of the wisest people I’ve ever met” (Matthew d’Ancona); “Just like old times indeed… bang on it” (Jeremy Gilbert).
There have been two great political turning points in postwar Britain. The first was in 1945 with the election of the Attlee government. Driven by a popular wave of determination that peacetime Britain would look very different from the mass unemployment of the 1930s, and built on the foundations of the solidaristic spirit of the war, the Labour government ushered in full employment, the welfare state (including the NHS) and nationalisation of the basic industries, notably coal and the railways. It was a reforming government the like of which Britain had not previously experienced in the first half of the 20th century. The popular support enjoyed by the reforms was such that the ensuing social-democratic consensus was to last until the end of the 1970s, with Tory as well as Labour governments broadly operating within its framework.
To discuss the future of the “one country, two systems” model in Hong Kong is Zou Yue, anchor of CGTN’s China24, Martin Jacques, author of the bestselling book “When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order” and James Keith, former U.S. Consul General to Hong Kong and currently runs the Asia practice at McLarty Associates.
Martin Jacques’ article written for the One Belt, One Road Summit in Beijing held in May 2017, which he attended. It appeared in People’s Daily on the 12th May 2017. This article, and an English version, both appear below.
The trend towards globalisation that dominated the world from around 1980 – driven by the neo-liberalism of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms – began to lose momentum with the Western financial crisis in 2007-8 and came to something of a shuddering halt in the West with Brexit in the UK and the election of Donald Trump as US President in 2016.
But the hubris of the anti-globalisation movement has been noticeably weakened during the early months of this year. Although Brexit is very likely to happen, doubts about it in the UK are beginning to grow, not least the fearsome challenge that it poses. The UK is turning inwards and is likely to be profoundly self-absorbed, to its great detriment, over the next decade by the Brexit challenge.
Martin Jacques speaks about current Sino-European relations as a keynote speaker at the opening conference of the Leiden Asia Centre. According to Jacques, the way Western media and politics are approaching China is deeply flawed – and it is causing Europe to miss the boat while China is marching forwards.
Interview with BFM: ‘China – Giant Strides? Possible Missteps?’
Martin Jacques was interviewed on a very popular morning radio show whilst visiting Malaysia. The interview coincided with Prime Minister Razak’s visit to Beijing and discussed relations between the two countries, as well as the Philippine’s President Duterte’s shift in attitude towards China.
Listen to the interview below:
Following its publication in The Observer, this article has stimulated a great deal of interest and debate in the UK and the US. It has received over 500,000 unique visitor views and trended on Twitter.
In the late 1970s Martin Jacques was one of the first to herald the emerging dominance of neoliberalism in the west. Here he argues that this doctrine is now faltering. But what happens next?
The western financial crisis of 2007-8 was the worst since 1931, yet its immediate repercussions were surprisingly modest. The crisis challenged the foundation stones of the long-dominant neoliberal ideology but it seemed to emerge largely unscathed. The banks were bailed out; hardly any bankers on either side of the Atlantic were prosecuted for their crimes; and the price of their behaviour was duly paid by the taxpayer. Subsequent economic policy, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, has relied overwhelmingly on monetary policy, especially quantitative easing. It has failed. The western economy has stagnated and is now approaching its lost decade, with no end in sight.
Martin Jacques’ latest article considers the historic significance of the forthcoming summit. An English version has been published in the Global Times and a Chinese version in the People’s Daily. Both are available below.
The forthcoming G20 summit comes at an appropriate moment in the evolution of China’s own relationship with the global economy and its governance.
China’s formal entry into the global economy was marked by its admission to the WTO in 2001. For more than a decade after that, with economic growth averaging around 10%, trade expanding to the point where China became the world’s biggest trading nation, and overseas investment growing very rapidly albeit from a very low base, China chose to take a back seat while learning the ropes of its newly acquired status. During this period, China preferred to play a relatively passive role. As a result, it was frequently criticised by the United States for being a free rider: enjoying the benefits of globalisation without contributing to the global public goods that were needed.
Watch Martin Jacques in conversation with Shashi Tharoor, exploring what will define the progress of China and India over the coming years. As part of the Credit Suisse Global Megatrends Conference in Singapore. Moderated by Martin Soong (CNBC Asia).
Double click for full screen.
For a report on the discussion please see this article by Jo-ann Huang in The Straits Times.
Launch of new Chinese edition of When China Rules the World
The release of a brand new expanded and updated Chinese edition of When China Rules the World has attracted a great deal of media attention in China. Below is a video interview with CCTV, followed by a series of links to other reports and interviews.
Martin Jacques is chairman of the Harinder Veriah Trust, a charity providing vital support to underprivileged girls in Malaysia, helping them to get the best from their schooling and achieve an education that will transform their lives.
This hugely successful TED talk in London has now had over 2 million views. Martin Jacques asks: How do we in the West make sense of China and its phenomenal rise?
YouTube video of a great event now available!
27/10/14 — Furama RiverFront Hotel, Singapore
Business China, in conjunction with Singapore Press Holdings, organised a wonderful event on 27th November in Singapore in their Eminent Speakers Series. Over a thousand people packed into the Grand Ballroom of Singapore’s Furama RiverFront Hotel to hear Martin Jacques talk on Why China Will Be a Very Different Kind of Great Power — and now for the first time, a complete video of the event is available to view.
The talk was followed by a question and answer session during which the moderator, Professor Tan Khee Giap, asked the audience whether or not they broadly agreed with Jacques’s argument. Did they vote for or against? See the short video below. Click here for the extensive media coverage of the event (in Chinese)
University of Melbourne – When China Rules the World
On 18th September 2012, Martin Jacques gave a talk at the University of Melbourne as part of a public lecture series organised by Asialink, questioning ‘Australia’s Role in the World’. This highly popular YouTube video of his lecture has over 200,000 views.
BBC Radio 4: Point of View Talks
Martin Jacques presents a highly successful series of programmes on how best to understand the unique characteristics and apparent mysteries of contemporary China, its development and its possible future. In this new series, he sets out the building blocks for making sense of China today.
The following interview with Martin Jacques originally appeared in the New Internationalist.
Yohann Koshy: How did China respond to the global financial crisis?
Martin Jacques: It was essentially a Western crisis but China had to respond because the American and European markets, on which it was quite dependent, went down very badly initially and [it did this] by having a huge stimulus programme. It pumped very large amounts of money into the economy and the consequence was that Chinese growth went down slightly but remained very high. It was pushing 9 and 10 per cent during this period and, in fact, went up to 12 and 13 per cent.
In the longer period, basically what happened was a serious attempt to shift the centre of gravity of the Chinese economy. In 1978, China’s economy was a 20th the size of the US economy. The reforms over the following decades were about becoming an export-driven economy, dependent on cheap labour that came from powerful migratory movements from the countryside to the main cities, with, of course, very strong input from the state.
But since the financial crisis the shift has been towards an economy that is increasingly dependent on domestic rather than foreign consumption, with much greater dependence on research and development, and with a lower growth rate. The new norm for a growth rate is between 6.5 and 7 per cent, which China has maintained to this day. But when the economy is growing at that rate, given the size of the whole country, the global impact is still enormous: China’s been responsible, since the Western financial crisis, for somewhere between 40 and 50 per cent of global growth. Without the Chinese economy, the global economy would be in a mess.
Could China be going down the route of financialization like the Western economies? Blackrock, the huge hedge fund, was recently granted a licence to start operating there.
Well, I don’t think the Blackrock announcement itself constitutes anything like that. I think the Chinese will very strongly resist going down that path. Of course, they need a strong financial sector. They will need to develop capital markets [financial venues where cash can be raised for investment]. But the thing is that the Chinese economy is very different to the US economy. It’s still got tremendous manufacturing capacity and emphasis on the importance of scientific and technical labour. The state is very fundamental to the way in which the Chinese economy works. They’ve also been much more able to deal with special interests in the way the Western economies haven’t. The banking sector became [dominant] within Western societies during the neoliberal period from the late 1970s through to the financial crash. It seems to me there’s very little evidence of this happening in China.
And when Mark Carney says he’s worried about shadow banking in China…
The main debt problem in China is corporate debt. The state-banking system, but also to some extent the shadow banking system, has built up indebtedness because it’s sometimes over-lent to schemes, plans and investments which weren’t that sound, and that has increased. But it is not, like the US or Britain, the state which is indebted… So it’s a problem but it’s an internal, rather than external problem. What really did for the smaller Asian economies during the Asian financial crisis [in the 1990s] was that they held major assets in foreign currencies and suddenly, as their currencies fell, their debts increased rapidly.
Also, the Chinese population itself is not indebted. They tend to have very big savings, which is one of the reasons behind the country’s financial strength… You have to say that the economic management of the Chinese economy has been quite remarkable. They’ve gone for 35 years without a serious crisis. Compare that with the West!
A key development since the crash is China creating the New Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, which even Britain and Germany signed up to – much to US displeasure. Why are they creating these alternatives to the World Bank and the IMF?
After 2007-08, the Chinese realized… they couldn’t rely on the interests of US economy and the global economy being aligned. They had to develop their own institutions. The Americans had also dragged their feet on reforms to the IMF because they wanted to retain control of it.
In this situation you don’t want institutions like the IMF and World Bank, which are essentially Western institutions whose primary function is serving Western economies. You need something with a much more expansive and inclusive view of the world… This is why we’ve seen the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, the New Development Bank (the BRICS bank), and we’re going to see a much bigger development of this altogether with the Belts & Road initiative [a massive infrastructure programme that aims to improve connectivity between Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia]. The vehicle for the global transformation for the next period will be this Belts & Road initiative.
I understand why Chinese investment has been welcomed by governments. However, in Ecuador there are indigenous communities protesting against rapacious Chinese mining companies. In Gambia, local fishers are being crowded out by Chinese firms. At a moral and political level, how should China deal with these struggles? Because there is no development without conflict.
You’re right: there is always conflict in development. China has, with great speed, developed a presence in many different developing countries. On the one hand, this has led to growing demand for commodity producers [in poorer countries] – from oil to metals like iron ore – and that’s had a powerful effect on their economies. On the other hand, China is also extremely competitive in lots of industries and this can have negative effects. There are plenty of examples where China on the low-end of manufacturing has out-competed with firms in the developing world that haven’t got the scale and level of investment to compete.
In terms of the relationship with places like Africa and southeast Asia, Chinese companies have been a major factor in developing the beginnings of a serious manufacturing capacity in places like Ethiopia, which by and large never really had one before. I think that China’s relationship with Africa has been basically very positive. I’m not saying there haven’t been problems. For example, there is a lot of resentment about Chinese companies bringing Chinese labour into some of the infrastructural developments. But the reason I think it’s been broadly positive is that China was a new source of demand for commodity producers in Africa. That means they were no longer just dependent on Western demand; it became a competitive market, which bid up the price of commodities during that period and meant that they were in a better economic situation.
Secondly, and this is why I deeply resent the argument that China is the new colonial power in Africa, China understands the problem of developing countries. One of the big problems is developing infrastructure that delivers transportation, energy and the necessary building blocks of a more developed economy. What China has done in all the major countries in Africa is to provide road systems, railways and so on. For the Chinese it’s all about development.
China has not always behaved well. If you take Myanmar, it got far too close to the military regime [that is persecuting the Rohingya] and a weakness of the Chinese is… [that they often arrive in new countries without being] sufficiently sensitive to local opinion. That has definitely happened in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. So those kind of tensions are real and important. And no doubt the Chinese will make many more mistakes. The question is whether they learn from them. So now they’re learning how to deal with civil society in other countries because they don’t have a civil society in the same way as most countries.
Let’s end with the US. There is growing bellicosity between the two superpowers. However, their economies are also dependent on each other. China owns more US debt, in the form of Treasury bonds, than any other country, which in turn allows the US to spend beyond its means and buy China’s products. Is this sustainable?
The difficulty in the West is the inability to make sense of China. Listen to the BBC’s Today Programme, read The Guardian: there is little sense of this shift in the world. How many articles have there been on the Belt & Road initiative, which is the most important global project of this era?
Ironically, Trump was the first leading US politician to recognize US decline: this is the premise of ‘Make America Great Again’. He is, however, deluded in the belief that he can reverse it. I do think there is going to be a trade war, but nothing will [reverse China’s rise]. These are deep historical forces at work, just like the rise of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries were deep historical trends. So America has to come to terms with the rise of China and renegotiate its relationship with China. At the heart of any answer to your question is this: how is the West going to handle its own relative decline?
Martin Jacques, former editor of Marxism Today, is the author of When China Rules the World (Penguin).
An opinion piece by Carmen N. Pedrosa in The Philippine Star. Read it on their website here.
There have always been critics of The Asian Century. As expected these critics are from the Western world that once colonized almost the entire Asian continent. Asians, they think were properly subjugated. Not so fast, boy. We do not know why things happen as they do – in circles. A good example is the Chinese Belt and Road initiative. For myself, I think it will be a comeback for Asians who are great traders and innovators, given the chance.
But some Western critics are satisfied with the reasoning that because the West does not want to happen, it will not happen. That is a blatant presumption of their colonial thinking.
Martin Jacques speaks about current Sino-European relations as a keynote speaker at the opening conference of the Leiden Asia Centre. According to Jacques, the way Western media and politics are approaching China is deeply flawed – and it is causing Europe to miss the boat while China is marching forwards.
Keynote Speech: “The Challenge that the CPC presents the World as a Very Different Form of Governance in the Era of Globalisation”
Forum: “Reform and Opening Up: Deng’s Great Innovation”
November 24 2018
The 3rd Symposium on International CCP-ology between Fudan University, University of California (Berkeley), Thinktanks Project of Shanghai Municipal Education Commission on the topic of the international image establishment of the CPC in the New Era.
CGTN America televised Town Hall Meeting on ’40 Years and Beyond – China’s Reform and Opening Up’
December 11 2018: 6PM (USET)
Speaker, alongside Chinese leaders and pre-eminent thinkers from the West on China, in four decades, has developed from a predominantly agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse; its impact on the global economy and the challenges that lie ahead.
Jack Morton Auditorium, George Washington University, Washington D.C. Private event.
Speaker (Panel): “Opportunity II: The Belt and Road Initiative —From Community of Interests to Community of Shared Future” moderated by Ernesto Zedillo (Former President of Mexico; Chairman, 21st Century Council).
December 18 2018: 3:15PM- 4:45PM
Understanding China Conference, co-hosted by China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, the Chinese People’s Institute for Foreign Affairs and the 21st Century Council.
Beijing Palace, Beijing Hotel International Convention Centre