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When China Rules The World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World Hardcover – 25 Jun 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (25 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713992549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713992540
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Martin Jacques is one of Britain's foremost public intellectuals. A Visiting Senior Research Fellow at IDEAS, the London School of Economics' centre for diplomacy and grand strategy, a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and a Fellow of the Transatlantic Academy, Washington DC, Martin Jacques is widely respected as a leading global expert on what could prove to be the most important geopolitical event of the past 200 years: the rise of China.

Born in Coventry in 1945, Martin Jacques earned a first class honours degree in Economics at Manchester University, followed by a masters degree, and then a PhD from Cambridge University. He subsequently held a lectureship in the Department of Economic and Social History at Bristol University.

In 1977, he became editor of Marxism Today, a post he held for fourteen years until the journal's closure in 1991, transforming what was an obscure and dull publication into a the most influential political magazine in Britain. In the early 1990, Jacques co-founded the think-tank Demos, and worked as deputy editor of The Independent. He has been a columnist for the Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Observer, and the New Statesman, as well as writing for many newspapers and magazines worldwide, including Financial Times, Economist, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Daily Beast, New Republic, Volkskrant, Corriere della Sera, L'Unita, Il Mondo, Süddeutsche Zeitung, South China Morning Post, and Folha Des Paulo.

He has made many television programs for the BBC, including writing and presenting Italy on Trial (1993), The Incredible Shrinking Politicians (1993), a two-part series on The End of the Western World (1996) and Proud to be Chinese (1998).

In recent years Martin Jacques has worked as a Visiting Professor at Renmin University, Beijing, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Singapore,a Visiting Research Fellow at the Asia Research Centre at the London School of Economics, and a Visiting Professor at both Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, and at the International Centre for Chinese Studies at Aichi University in Nagoya.

Product Description


By far the best book on China to have been published in many years, and one of the most important inquiries into the nature of modernisation. Jacques's comprehensive and richly detailed analysis will be an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to understand contemporary China (John Gray New Statesman)

Provocative ... stimulating ... full of bold but credible predictions ... I suspect it will long be remembered for its foresight and insight (Michael Rank Guardian)

This important book, deeply considered, full of historical understanding and realism, is about more than China. It is about a twenty-first-century world no longer modelled on and shaped by North Atlantic power, ideas and assumptions. I suspect it will be highly influential (Eric Hobsbawm)

Jacques's book will provoke argument and is a tour de force across a host of disciplines (Mary Dejevsky The Independent)

[An] exhaustive, incisive exploration of possibilities that many people have barely begun to contemplate about a future dominated by China. ... [Jacques] has written a work of considerable erudition, with provocative and often counterintuitive speculations about one of the most important questions facing the world today. And he could hardly have known, when he set out to write it, that events would so accelerate the trends he was analyzing. (Joseph Kahn The New York Times Book Review)

A very forcefully written, lively book that is full of provocations and predictions (Fareed Zakaria GPS, CNN)

[A] compelling and thought-provoking analysis of global trends.... Jacques is a superb explainer of history and economics, tracing broad trends with insight and skill (Seth Faison The Washington Post)

The West hopes that wealth, globalization and political integration will turn China into a gentle giant... But Jacques says that this is a delusion. Time will not make China more Western; it will make the West, and the world, more Chinese (The Economist) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Martin Jacques is currently a visiting research fellow at the London School of Economics Asia Research Centre. He has recently been a visiting professor at Remnin University, Beijing, the International Centre for Chinese Studies, Aichi University and at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, and was a senior visiting research fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. He was editor of the highly respected journal Marxism Today until its closure in 1991. He was founder of the UK think-tank Demos, has been a columnist for The Times and the Sunday Times and was deputy editor of the Independent. He currently writes a regular column for the Guardian. He is the co-editor and co-author of The Forward March of Labour Halted? (1981), The Politics of Thatcherism (1983) and New Times (1989).

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Astolpho on 30 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Martin Jacques was one of the great editors. He guided the affairs of the magazine Marxism Today, despite its outmoded name and having no money, and made it enormously influential. He would get prestigious commentators to write for him for next to nothing, and then argue their copy with them line by line, getting them to justify it to him.

This very long book could have done with his editing skills.

Its basic theme is simple. China is going to replace America as Top Nation sooner than we think, and when it does we will be surprised to discover that economic success does not inevitably make countries behave like Western democracies, that China will continue to behave as it does and as it always has done, and when it is Top Nation we shall all have to adjust our ways accordingly rather than, as until now, vice versa.

He makes this case convincingly. And then he makes it again. And again.

The language is leaden. Abstract nouns once skewered are repeated endlessly, first in their natural state, then as verbs and finally agonisingly as adjectives. Clichés are solemnly trotted out. It's like something written by a politician, or I suppose a Marxist. And he is transfixed by numbers. There are endless specious surveys reporting that a certain very precise percentage of people are very happy, quite happy or rather happy with the some state of affairs or other. Towards the end he assures us in a discussion of the Chinese diaspora that there are 347,000 Chinese people in Britain. Look around. I don't think so.

I read the book because I believe that its theme is true and I am interested in what it will be like when China is Top Nation. This is where the book resorts to windy generality.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Garlick on 15 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
As a student interested in understanding China's rise, I found this by far the most informative book on the topic written in the last fifteen years. In it Jacques develops three key ideas which are not found in other recent literature on China, and by doing so he presents a clear vision of how China is likely to develop as it grows and takes its place on the world stage.

First, he puts forward the idea of China as a 'civilisation-state' (which he takes from Lucian Pye). By this he means that China is essentially different in character to the smaller, 'Westphalian' nation-states which first emerged in Europe. Chinese civilisation stretches back at least 3500 years and has absorbed a large number of smaller states into one unified socio-political entity. Jacques is suggesting that Westerners need to look at China in a very different way from the way they look at their own nation-states, which usually means (at least in the European context) discussing a history of inter-national conflict rather than the Chinese process of steady absorption and Sinicisation to create a vast country with a common culture.

Second he analyses what he calls the 'Middle Kingdom mentality'. This includes a unifying sense of historical purpose among the various peoples of China, as well as an understanding of China as being innately central, both in terms of political influence in East Asia and in terms of the long-term project of civilising the peoples of the world. Jacques connects this idea to the historical tributary system in which foreigners came to the Emperor to pay tribute and seek political and economic favours.
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75 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Stuart E. Hopkins on 20 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book comprises an extended and comprehensive overview of the ascendancy of the modern Chinese state and the impact that ascendancy will have for East Asia in particular, and the rest of the world in general - including the West. The discussion focuses attention on eight central themes. First, China is characteristically a civilisation-state rather than a conventional nation-state as defined by the Westphalian system, although it possesses the characteristics of both. Second, China is most likely to conceive of itself, and be recognised by others, as a tributary-state - particularly in East Asia. It will then probably revert to the kind of relationship, with its East Asian periphery, that obtained prior to the end of the nineteenth century. Third, as the twenty-first century matures we will become more clearly aware of the distinctive Chinese attitude to race and ethnicity, which does not harmonise or fit comfortably with current Western concepts and praxis. Fourth, due to its massive land mass, China operates on a vast continental scale: when that is taken into consideration, together with its equally massive population, this fact alone differentiates China from any other nation-state. Fifth, the nature of the Chinese polity is highly distinctive, because the erstwhile imperial dynasty did not desire and was not obliged or required to share power with any other institutions or interest groups. Sixth, Chinese modernity is characterised by the rapidity of the country's economic transformation, and its recently acquired financial importance now has significant global influence. Seventh, since 1949 China has been ruled by a `communist' regime, which has been influenced by a detectable Confucian syncretism.Read more ›
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