Is China becoming more like the West on its way to modernization? British writer, broadcaster and speaker Martin Jacques doesn’t think so, rejecting the assumption as “wishful thinking.”
In his book When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, Jacques argues that China’s modernity arises from history and tradition different from the West. Moreover, it will exercise a powerful global influence that will be as much political and cultural as economic, exerting its own impact on the world.
When China Rules the World was first published in 2009 by Penguin Books. It has been translated into 15 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Latvian, Portuguese and Turkish. It has been reprinted several times, becoming one of the bestsellers on China. According to the author’s personal website, more than 300,000 copies have been sold.
From left: Mr Tharoor; Mr Martin Soong, anchor, CNBC Asia Pacific; and Dr Jacques. PHOTOS: CREDIT SUISSE
CHINA and India have long been pitted against each other. As both countries have gone under a sharp rise in economic growth, that argument no longer stands today, said panelists at the Credit Suisse Global Megatrends Conference 2016 which was held last Thursday.
Mr Martin Jacques, the author of global bestseller, When China Rules The World: The End Of The Western World And The Birth Of A New Global Order, said in a separate interview that India and China are at very different stages of development. China’s economy, he said, is about five times larger than India’s. As a result, the priorities and imperatives of both countries vary.
Discussions about China’s rise and its global impact have been growing more heated over the years. Martin Jacques (Jacques), a senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University and author of When China Rules the World, shared his thoughts with Global Times (GT) London correspondent Sun Wei.
GT: In your book When China Rules the World, you argued that “China will become the dominant global power within decades, and it won’t become more westernized but will make the rest of the world more Chinese.” Do you still stick to this conclusion now?
Jacques: Yes, very much so. Of course, as China has become increasingly integrated into the global economy, it is being influenced by other countries and cultures, especially Western. But as China rises, it is clear that it is exercising a growing influence on the world. Countries around the world are looking to China, and pivoting to China because they see China as increasingly central to their own futures. This is abundantly clear in East Asia, but also Africa and indeed Europe. Major European countries, notably Germany, France and the UK, are more and more orientating themselves towards China. If Westernisation was the dominant trend for over two centuries, we are now seeing the beginnings of a process of Sinicisation. That doesn’t mean that Westernisation is no longer important, but it is no longer the overwhelming influence that it was in the past. What is remarkable since the publication of my book in English in 2009 is now far this process has gone in such a short period – and this is only the beginning of the process.
Watch Martin Jacques in conversation with Shashi Tharoor, exploring what will define the progress of China and India over the coming years.
By 2030, China and India’s economies are forecast to collectively be twice as large as that of the United States. The discussion explored which of the two powers will emerge as the larger economy in the next decade. From their types of government to their economic policies, however, each country is distinctly different. In a pluralist, multipolar world, is a “China versus India” debate still relevant? If so, who will emerge economically stronger and why? Is it policy, politics, resources, or demographics that provide an advantage to one over the other?