Martin Jacques in conversation with John Gapper, Financial Times columnist, at the Names Not Numbers Conference on 23rd March at Aldeburgh, UK. Click here to read a an edited transcript of the interview.
The Japanese edition of When China Rules the World is being published in two volumes; the first, the cover of which is pictured above, was published in late March 2014.
On Tuesday 11th March, Martin Jacques argued for the motion that Democracy is Not Always the Best Form of Government in a debate televised by BBC World News. Speaking for the motion with him was Rosemary Hollis, Professor of Middle East Policy Studies and Director of the Olive Tree Scholarship Programme at City University; speaking against the motion were the American political scientist Ian Bremmer, and the Ukranian MP Andriy Shevchenko.
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried” — So said Winston Churchill. And who would disagree?
But is the assumption that democracy always leads to a more liberal and tolerant society correct? Many would argue that it can lead to quite illiberal outcomes especially where there is profound ethnic division. Take for example Yugoslavia. Slobodan Milosevic – the democratically elected president – left a legacy of more than 200,000 dead in Bosnia and ethnically cleansed more than 800,000 Albanians from their homes in Kosovo. And what if democracy were installed in Syria? It’s not hard to imagine the outcome for the minority groups who for decades have enjoyed the protection of Assad’s regime.
Is democracy always the best outcome?
On 25 February 2014, Martin Jacques gave the pre-dinner speech on China to an invited audience in the presence of HRH Crown Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg. It was organised by Luxembourg for Finance as a prelude to their Renminbi Forum 2014. Martin Jacques is photographed here with the Crown Prince. More photos from the event can be viewed here.
Speaking at a TED Salon in London, Martin Jacques asks: How do we in the West make sense of China and its phenomenal rise? This hugely successful TED talk has over 1.6 million views.
On 7th December 2013, Martin Jacques was interviewed on the Chinese Dream by Tian Wei of CCTV’s Dialogue programme.
The term Chinese Dream has been used several times by President Xi Jinping since the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Congress in November 2012. The term has become a major focus of discussion in China. The paper below was given as a keynote speech at a major conference held in Shanghai last December.
The Chinese Dream is a new departure – both as a political idea and slogan. It is, for one thing, immediately accessible and, as a result, populist. Everyone knows about dreams, we all have them, whether in our sub-conscious or conscious state. Dreams belong to everyone. There is also a sense of freedom about dreams. When we dream we are not constrained by material circumstance or the real world, on the contrary we are allowed to escape from those kind of restraints. Dreams empower: they are highly personal, each and every one of us their author. The evocation of the word dream summons us all to be bold, to imagine the world not as it is but as it might be, how we would like it to be.
The term Chinese Dream is of the present: its moment has arrived. It would not have been appropriate in 1978. That was not the nature of the time. The term Chinese Dream urges the Chinese to move on, to think anew and afresh, to turn over a new page, to begin a new chapter. The Chinese Dream announces the beginning of something new but also the end of something: the end of the era of Deng Xiaoping.
Over the last decade China has become the biggest trading partner of a multitude of countries around the world. All those coloured in red count as their biggest trading partner; for those coloured orange China is the second biggest trading partner. In 1990, China was the biggest trading partner of hardly any countries in the world; and even a decade ago it was still a phenomenon overwhelmingly confined to East Asia.
This map graphically illustrates how Asia is the demographic centre of the world. And Danny Quah’s accompanying map below demonstrates how the epicentre of the global economy is relentlessly moving from its location in the western Atlantic in 1980 to its present location north of the Red Sea, and to the Indo-Chinese border by 2050.
Source: Danny Quah
Stuart Hall was an utterly unique figure. Although he arrived at the age of 19 from Jamaica and spent the rest of his life here, he never felt at home in Britain. This juxtaposition was a crucial source of his strength and originality. Because of his colour and origin, he saw the country differently, not as a native but as an outsider. He observed this island through a different viewfinder and it enabled him to see things that those shaped and formatted by the culture could not. It took an outsider, a black person from a former colony, to understand what was happening to a post-imperial country seemingly locked in endless decline.
His impact was to be felt across many different fields. Perhaps best known is his pioneering work in cultural studies, but his influence was to be felt in many diverse fields. By the end of the 1970s, it was the connections that he started to make between culture and politics that was to redefine how we thought about politics.
This was how my own relationship with Stuart began in 1978. Soon after I became editor of Marxism Today, I commissioned an article from him on Thatcher. The result was one of the most important pieces of political writing of the past 40 years. Stuart, drawing on his cultural insights and the work of Antonio Gramsci, proceeded to rewrite the way in which we make sense of politics; and in the process, incidentally, he invented the term Thatcherism. For the next decade, it felt as if we lived in each other’s pockets. The way in which Stuart wrote was fascinating. Some, like Eric Hobsbawm, the other Marxism Today great, produced a perfect text first time out. Stuart’s first draft, in contrast, would arrive in an extremely incoherent and rambling form, as if trying to clear his throat. Over the next 10 days, one draft would follow another, in quick succession, like a game of ping-pong. His was a restless, inventive intellect, always pushing the envelope, at his best when working in some form of collaboration with others. His end result was always worth savouring, his articles hugely influential.
Tragically, Stuart’s ill health slowly but remorselessly curtailed and undermined his ferocious energy. But his mind remained as alert and involved as ever. The response to his death has served to demonstrate how much his work has influenced so many people in so many different ways: cultural studies, race and ethnicity, politics, the arts, the media, academe. Little has been left untouched by his intellectual power and insight.
Stuart’s extraordinary impact was not because he happened to be black and from Jamaica. It was because he was black and from Jamaica. It took an outsider, a black Jamaican, to help us understand and make sense of Britain’s continuing decline. He was in so many ways well ahead of his time. It is difficult to think of anyone else that has offered such a powerful insight into what has been happening to us over the past 70 years.
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.
This is a special 45 minute CCTV television programme broadcast on April 8th of the debate earlier that day at the Boao Forum in Hainan on China’s Reform Agenda. It features Justin Lin, until recently chief economist of the World Bank, Fan Gang, president of China’s National Economic Research Institute, Charlene Barshefsky, former US Trade Representative, and Martin Jacques.
Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2014 – "Asia's New Future: Identifying Growth Drivers"
Boao, Hainan Province, China
April 10th, 15.30–16.45: Inspirations from Classical Wisdom: Talking to Asian Gurus — panelists include Martin Jacques
April 11th, 16.30–18.00: Public Diplomacy and National Image — panelists include Martin Jacques
Speech at Launch of TUC Report on China and East Asia, "The Way of the Dragon"
11.00: Congress House, Great Russell Street
Asan Plenum 2014 — "The Future of History"
Seoul, South Korea
Martin Jacques will speak at two sessions:
10:30-11:45: Future of the International Liberal OrderChina-US Strategic (Dis)trust
15:30-16:45: Future of the International Liberal Order
He will also deliver a lecture for the young scholars at the Plenum conference.
When China Rules the World — Promotional Tour of Japan
To mark the release of the first volume of the Japanese edition of When China Rules the World, Martin Jacques will be undertaking a promotional tour of Japan.
Roundtable discussion at the Japan Institute for International Affairs
14.15–15.45: JIIA, 3rd Floor, Toranomon Mitsui Building, Kasumigaseki, Chiyodaku
Roundtable discussion at the National Institute for Defense Studies — “China’s Rise and the Birth of New Global Order”
10.00–11.30: NIDS, 2-2-1 Nakameguro, Meguro-ku
Public Lecture at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
16.00–17.30: Nippon Foundation Building
Lecture at Waseda University with Professor Min Shu — "When China Rules the World"
13.00—14.00: School of International Liberal Studies
Lecture at the University of Tokyo — "When China Rules the World"
18.30–20.30: Room No. 549 (Centre Discussion Room), 5th floor, Akamon General Research Building, The University of Tokyo (Hongo campus)
24/04/13 — Beveridge Hall, Senate House, London University