The emergence of China as a global superpower cannot be overlooked. China will play a hugely significant role in shaping both the developing world and redefining the developed world.
A staggering economic revolution will see China become the world’s dominant economic power by 2030, though widespread state corruption and environmental concerns have somewhat tarnished China’s otherwise remarkable rise to power.
Martin Jacques is Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University, Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University Beijing and world renowned Ted talker, indeed there are few who are as qualified as he to speak on the subject of China and its relationship to the West. Jacque’s global best-seller When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, is justly hailed by the New York Times as being a work of ‘considerable erudition, with provocative and often counterintuitive speculations about one of the most important questions facing the world today’.
OgilvyOne have been speaking to Martin Jacques to develop our understanding of a market that will play such a crucial role in our professional and non-professional lives.
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Editor’s note: One of the first articles ever to appear on Truthdig was a dig led by Orville Schell, who asked the question “China: Boom or Boomerang?” Years later, with China’s economy continuing to thrive amidst a global economic meltdown, the answer seems obvious. But a boom to what end? China’s rise is well documented, yet it remains one of the most misunderstood countries in the world.
China will soon become “the most powerful and influential country in the world,” says celebrated journalist Martin Jacques. It is predicted that by 2050, China’s economy will be twice that of the United States. What will Beijing do with all that power and influence?
Robert Scheer: Hi, I’m Robert Scheer, the editor of Truthdig.com, and as part of our commitment to dealing with books—our book review section, our interviews with authors—we think that books represent a vibrant source of information, the old media is still very relevant in the new-media world. And it’s actually a pleasure to talk about a book that in a very exciting way deals with a very important and complex subject: “When China Rules the World” by Martin Jacques, who is a well-known writer, and particularly in England, where he writes for the Guardian newspaper and has covered international affairs.
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The dire consequences of the coming shift in global power
As an academic and journalist working throughout East Asia, Martin Jacques has had a front row seat for the past decade on China’s economic and political emergence. The British author’s latest book is titled When China Rules the World.
Q: We in the West spend a great deal of time discussing China’s rise. But we seem to resist the next logical step, which is to consider how things will change around the world when China becomes the world’s pre-eminent economic power. Why is that?
A: I think that the world has been so used to American hegemony, and you had a recent period of American history under Bush which actually postulated exactly the opposite scenario—that we were in fact on the eve of a new American century. So we’re just not versed in the profoundly different thinking China’s pre-eminence will require. More than that, we have failed to understand that we’re not just talking about economic change. The impact of China’s rise is going to be at least as great politically and culturally as it will be in economic terms.
Jacques reveals the implications of China’s assuming the status of the world’s biggest market and most influential superpower in When China Rules the World
You write that China is playing a long game that’s very subtle and hard for the West to understand. Is this a consciously articulated strategy or a modus operandi central to Chinese consciousness?
I think it’s both. Because the U.S. is such a recent creation, the American timescale is extremely short. China’s civilization goes back 5,000 years, and the Chinese constantly access very distant history to illustrate the problems of the present. Kissinger once asked Zhou Enlai what he thought about the French Revolution, and Zhou Enlai said, “It’s too soon to say.” With that mentality coupled with its size and growth, the balance of power is constantly being reconfigured in China’s favor, and they can be patient. But it’s also conscious strategy; after the “century of humiliation,” they prioritized creating the best possible circumstances for development, and they’ve tried to get on with the countries that they perceive to matter.
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