This review of Martin Jacques’ book ‘When China Rules the World’ was written by Iftikhar Ahmed and published in the Daily Times on 31 March 2019.

In his researched and far-reaching book when China rules the world published in the United States of America in 2009, Martin Jacques argues that we have only barely begun to understand what life will be like when China rules the world. Being modern is not necessarily being Western. Based on his extensive research work focused on Chinese history and comparative studies in Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and some Asian study centres and his experience of writing columns for The Guardian and The Times of London, etc, Martin Jacques developed an insight into a frame of reference and a vision of the end of the western world and the birth of a new Global Order. He has been visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE ideas) a centre for the study of international affairs, diplomacy and grand strategy. Martin Jacques has been a visiting professor at the Renmim University, Beijing, the International Centre for Chinese studies, Aichi university and Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, and the senior visiting research fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. “When China rules the world” is the first book to explain how China’s meteoric rise will extend far beyond the economic realm, unseating the west and creating an entirely new global order. The role of economic and cultural relevance will, in our lifetimes, begin to pass from New York and London to cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. The West is deeply mistaken in believing that China is becoming more like the west. And increasingly powerful China will seek to shape the world in its own image, believes the author of this book. In a way Martin Jacques book is a groundbreaking investigation of how China’s rise as an economic superpower will alter the cultural, political and ethnic balance of global power in the 21st-century.

“When China rules the world”, an important book, full of historical understanding and realism, is about more than China. As suggested by the author, the ideas and assumption will be different, unlike that of the north Atlantic power. And that difference will define the influence of the expected new world order. The book is a look beyond China: full of bold but credible predictions. Only time will tell how prophecies pan out. Food for thought is plenty and hence the credit goes to the author for the foresight and insight. There is, however, need to follow the lines and accept the challenge to go in for serious research-based studies to formulate propositions and hypotheses that follow objectivity, data and assumptions that could be scientifically tested for unbiased and realistic workable conclusions. If assumptions are wrong, we can not arrive at objective, workable and realistic conclusions. The taste of pudding is in the eating. The end of the western world and the birth of the new global order depends on the quality of the world leadership and their concern for the people and the need for security, peace and justice, over and above basic human needs.

It is important to seriously attend to the content of the book to get a real feel of what the writer intends to communicate to the reader. One must get knowledge of major periods in Imperial China. One must understand the meaning of China’s Ignominy. One must grasp the concept of “contested modernity”. That mostly covers what the author has to communicate on the changing of the guard. Theme then takes the reader to the age of China :i.e, China as an economic superpower; the civilization-state; the middle kingdom mentality; China’s own backyard; and China as a rising global power. Systematically proceeding the next theme is the main idea- when China moves the world. Questions like “how sustainable is China’s economic growth?” and “what is the environmental dilemma?” have been discussed in the book.

The reason for China’s transformation has been the way it has succeeded in combining what it has learnt from the West, and also it’s Asian neighbours, with its own history and culture, thereby tapping and releasing its native sources of dynamism

There are many differences that define China. Economic change, fundamental as it may be, can only be part of the picture. This view, blind as it is, to the importance of politics and culture, rests on an underlying assumption the China, by virtue of its economic transformation will, in effect, become Western. Consciously or unconsciously, it sounds like Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’ view: that since 1989 the world has been converging on western liberal democracy. The other response, in contrast, is persistently sceptical about the rise of China, always half expecting it to end in failure. In the light of Maoism, the collapse of the Soviet union and the suppression of the students in the Tiananmen square, the argument runs, it is impossible for China to sustain its transformation without fundamental political change: unless it adopts the western model, it will fail. This book is predicated on a very different approach. It does not accept that the “western way” is the only viable model. It should be borne in mind that the West has seen off every major challenge it has faced, culminating in the defeat after 1989 of it’s greatest adversary, Soviet communism. It has formidable track record of growth and innovation, which is why it has proved such a dynamic force over such a long period of time.

The reason for China’s transformation has been the way it has succeeded in combining what it has learnt from the West, and also it’s Asian neighbours, with its own history and culture, thereby tapping and releasing its native sources of dynamism. We have moved from the era of either/or to one characterized by hybridity. Central to the book is the contention that far from there being a single modernity, they will in fact be many. Over the last half century we have witnessed emergence of quite new modernities, drawing on those of the West but ultimately dependent for their success on their ability to mobilize, build upon and transform the indigenous. These new modernities are no less original for their hybridity; indeed, their originality lies partly in that phenomenon.

The problem, as Paul A Cohen has pointed out, is that the Western mentality- nurtured and shaped by its long-term ascendancy- far from being imbued with cosmopolitan outlook as one might expect, is in fact highly parochial, believing in it’s own universalism: or in other words, it’s own rectitude and eternal relevance. If we already have the answers, and these are universally applicable, then there is little or nothing to learn from anyone else. While the west remained relatively unchallenged, as it has been for the best part of two centuries, the price of such arrogance has overwhelmingly been paid by others, as they were obliged to take heed of Western demands. But when the west comes under serious challenge, as it increasingly will from China and others, then such a parochial mentality will only serve to increase its vulnerability, weakening its ability to learn from others and to change accordingly.

Most of what is China today –it’s social relations and customs, it’s ways of being, its sense of superiority, it’s belief in the state, its commitment to unity– are all products of Chinese civilization rather than its recent incarnation as a nation-state. On the surface it seems like a nation state, but it’s geological formation is that of a civilization state. As China once again becomes the centre of the world, it will luxuriate in its history and feel that justice has finally been done, that it is restoring it’s the rightful position and status in the world. China is increasingly likely to conceive of its relationship with East Asia in terms of Tributary state, rather than nation state, system. The Tributary state system had lasted for thousands of years and finally came to an end at the conclusion of the 19th century. The rise of the developing world was only made possible by the end of colonialism. For the non-industrial world the colonial era overwhelmingly served to block the possibility of their industrialization. The land of colonialism was a precondition for what we are witnessing, the growth of multiple modernities and the world in which they are likely to prove at some point decisive. 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. The West End powers cannot, however, comprehend that the change is on its way. On the other hand, what looks obvious also needs to be researched and subjected to scientific investigation. Facts must be identified and verified, and sociology of science must be understood.


The writer is a former director, National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) Government of Pakistan, a political analyst, a public policy expert and a published author. His book “Post 9/11 Pakistan” was published in the United States. His latest book “Existential Question for Pakistan” discusses a large range of important issues related to governance and policy, having importance and implications for a variety of professionals, policymakers, academics, politicians and administrators.

The writer is a Formerly Director NIPA, Govt of Pakistan

When China Rules The World: The End Of The Western World And The Birth Of A New Global Order
Author: Martin Jacques
Publisher: Penguin, 848 pages

SKEWED as they may be, reactionary Orientalist perspectives of East Asian realities remain the norm in Western punditry and news reports. The problem has become prevalent in both conservative and liberal circles.

The problem for the West itself is that such a persistent misperception of modern China may undermine Western interests further. Martin Jacques’ When China Rules The World: The End Of The Western World And The Birth Of A New Global Order is intended largely as a corrective, looking at the historic phenomenon of China’s grand return to the global stage in China’s own terms.

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Martin Jacques has only a few doubts that the Middle Kingdom will soon be the centre of the world. The title of his book is provocative. What this British journalist actually predicts is a “new kind of world system in which China is the main player — but not to the exclusion of the rest of the world.” What is more important to him is the need for the world, especially the West, to get a grip of what the return of China to a position of global preeminence will mean. Superpower China will not be a West that happens to speak funny.

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Martin Jacques, the author of the book “When China Rules the World” is also an economist and columnist of the Guardian and New Statesman. He recently spoke before a TED Salon in London about how China is going to overtake the US sooner than most people think.

What Martin Jacques had outlined in his lecture is of great importance to us Filipinos who are caught in the big geopolitical power game between the US and China. Per Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary, Albert del Rosario, we will continue our “sole strategic partnership” with the US.

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16/12/10 -

《“새로운 강대국으로 떠오르는 국가는 반드시 자신의 경제력을 정치적, 문화적, 군사적 목적에 이용한다. 세계의 헤게모니가 관련되어 있는 경우에는 이러한 모습을 당연히 보이게 되며 중국도 예외는 아니다. 그러나 서구에서 이러한 시나리오를 떠올리기는 쉽지 않다. 오랫동안 헤게모니를 장악해 왔던 서구 국가들은 대체로 자신들만의 가정 속에 갇혀 있기에 다른 기준으로 세계를 바라볼 수 없기 때문이다. -김민주 (마케팅 컨설턴트)》

중국이 서구식의 근대화 선진화 모델 대신 중국 특유의 모델로서 강대국으로 부상할 것이라고 예견하는 책이다. 중국의 미래는 미국을 중심으로 한 서구가 수세기에 걸쳐 구축해 놓은 소프트한 국제 정치질서에 순종하는 형태가 아닐 것이라는 주장이다.

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“중국은 지난 10년 동안 높은 성장을 기록했다. 하지만 앞으로 더욱 놀라운 일을 벌일 것 같다. 각국이 안전 벨트를 해야 할지도 모른다. 10년 뒤 중국의 국내총생산(GDP)은 13조 달러로 미국의 3분의 2 수준에 이를 것으로 보이는데, 이는 지금의 중국이 한 개 반 정도 더 생기는 것이다. 미국 GDP 성장보다 2배 빠른 속도로 성장할 것이다.”

브릭스(BRICs)라는 단어를 만든 짐 오닐 골드만삭스 글로벌자산운용 회장이 11월3일 방한 기자간담회에서 설명한 중국의 급성장에 대한 대목이다.

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15/10/10 -

한승동의 동서횡단 /

19세기 중반까지도 유럽의 평균적 소득(생활) 수준은 중국의 그것을 넘어서지 못했다. 특수한 경우를 예외로 한다면, 유사 이래 중국 인민 일반의 평균적 삶의 질은 적어도 19세기 중반까지는 유럽보다 우위에 있었고, 정도 차이는 있었겠지만 조선 등 동아시아 전체가 그랬을 것이다.

지난 200여년간 그런 관계는 서구 우위로 역전됐다. 마틴 자크의 <중국이 세계를 지배하면>은 21세기 들어 그 관계가 재역전되고 있음을 알리는 최근의 많은 저작물들 중의 하나다. 마틴 자크는 소련식 개혁개방인 페레스트로이카와 글라스노스트가 서구식 민주주의와 민영화·시장제일주의를 강요한 과도한 서구 근대화 모델 추종 때문에 실패로 끝나면서 양극분해와 매판적 올리가르히들이 득세하는 혼란과 퇴락을 면치 못했던 사실을 떠올린다.

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이 책을 권한다!

“오늘날 격변하고 있는 세계의 핵심을 단 600쪽의 글을 통해 알고자 한다면 반드시 이 책을 읽으시라!”

이렇게 나는 권하고 싶다. 중국 부상론 또는 패권론에 대한 책들이 쏟아져 나오고 있는 현실에서 마틴 자크의 <중국이 세계를 지배하면>(안세민 옮김, 부키 펴냄)은 중국의내면을 정교하게 읽어내고 그걸 통해 세계 질서 재편의 경향과 본질을 짚어내는 위력을절감하게 해 줄 것이다. 그건 자료의 풍부함과 치밀한 논리 전개만이 아니라 중국의 변화를 읽어내는 틀 자체가 다르고 상당한 설득력을 가지고 있기 때문이다.

지은이 마틴 자크는 영국의 좌파 잡지 <마르크시즘 투데이>의 편집장을 지냈을 뿐만 아니라 런던정경대학 부설 국제관계및외교전략연구소(LSE IDEAS)의 아시아 경제연구소 초빙 연구위원으로 영국 언론 <가디안>에 아시아 문제 전문가로서 기고를 해왔다.

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세계 인구의 5분의 1을 차지하는 거대한 나라, 중국. 중국의 부상은 누구도 부인할 수 없는 사실이다. 미국의 투자은행 골드만삭스는 2027년이면 중국이 미국을 추월해 세계 최대 경제대국이 될 것으로 예측한다. 미국의 쇠퇴는 미국 스스로도 인정하는 바이다. 미국 국가정보위원회의 2008년 11월 보고서는 미국의 쇠퇴와 다극체제의 도래를 전망, 미국이 세계의 주도권을 유지할 것이라던 2004년 보고서의 결론을 수정했다.

영국의 정치경제학자 마틴 자크가 2009년에 쓴 <중국이 세계를 지배하면>은 한 걸음 더 나아가 ‘팍스 시니카'(Pax Sinicaㆍ중국 중심의 세계질서) 시대를 선언하고, 중국 중심의 새로운 세계사가 열릴 것이라고 말한다.

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