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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The answer is that it is unlikely – a cogent defence the point of view that China's progress will not be smooth, 18 Jan. 2015
By 
Angus Jenkinson "angusjenkinson" (Cambridgeshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Will China Dominate the 21st Century? (Paperback)
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This is a relatively (blessedly) brief analysis of a highly complex subject, an extended essay. This is not scholars account, with innumerable references (although there are more in later chapters), but rather a deeply informed point of view on the subject of huge importance. Fenby's core conclusion is that it is much less likely that China will dominate the 21st century than is generally assumed. The projections based on continuing trends would certainly lead to the conclusion that economically, politically and possibly culturally China will become the dominant nation, and that is part of this, its negative effects such as pollution will also be so significant that they will outweigh local efforts. Of course such assumptions have been very frequently demonstrated as false: an Fenby provides a wide range of arguments for why China will find its development much more problematic and therefore much slower than the optimists (or pessimists, depending on your point of view) assume. Indeed the pollution of the cities will be one of those factors. The arguments are cogent, well argued with salient supportive detail. forecasting 50 years out is arguably a mugs game and there is no more guarantee that Fenby is right then those who believe that China will dominate, but this at least provides a useful counterbalance of perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All that is solid melts into the air, 15 Aug. 2014
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Will China Dominate the 21st Century? (Paperback)
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Based upon C Wright Mills conception of the power elite, the book aims to show that China will suffer the death knell of dissolution because it fails to embrace liberal democracy and is written from the Fukayama viewpoint that the end of history is neo liberal ideology. But whilst reading it, and it is a very detailed but also very easy to read type of book I was reminded by C Wright Mills.

The central premise is that due to its static ideology, China will undergo some form of crisis as a critical middle class will emerge no longer stomped upon by the communist cadre. When this occurs the dissent will render the country asunder as economic progress will no longer sooth the tensions which industrialism creates - workers and owners - capitalists and the proletariat. However the same conditions have not exactly brought revolution in the West as power and wealth since 1980 has meant it has been accumulated by an oligarchy. The iron law of oligarchy which Michels outlines applies to both the USA, which is becoming increasingly polarised between those who are well and those who are unwell.

China however has a belief and faith in its own inherent traditions and the Communist Party, as the author details are still intact and believe in its central tenets. It is just that they also believe they can go through the development stages of capitalism, overseen by a Communist Party to lead to the central core idea - the withering of the state.

I found the book enlightening due to the author pointing out the Central Committee were not cynical about their need to develop and grow, they still believed, but instead of letting loose, a disaster waiting to happen as they looked over the border to the former USSR, they have the vision that they can manage the transition through the stages. How they do this and reconcile the huge wrenches which are taking place is one of the biggest intrigues of the modern world. As the west drifts to a corporate state dreamt up by Mussolini in order to satiate the masses with cheap holidays in other peoples misery, the Chinese are tearing up their country to re-order it.

A strong central leader however, as the author misses out, has always been a South East Asian feature for development. Oligarchies exist in Japan, Korea and Taiwan - the tigers and this stress upon democracy has hardly damaged Saudi Arabia's march into the future.

Therefore read with caution as it is encoded as much by the authors own upbringing and perception as it is based upon reality. However having said that, the central thesis is well presented with considerable psychological detail normally missing within these analyses. Therefore I recommend reading it, but do not be sucked in by the propaganda.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Provocative Essay on China, 31 July 2014
By 
Henry Ireton (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
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This sharp and provocative essay by Jonathan Fenby is required reading on China right now. Fenby is a China sceptic and doesn't believe that the Middle Kingdom will become the dominant power of the next century, as America was of the last century. He identifies several reasons for this and spends most of his time discussing the challenges that Beijing faces in evolving further from the Deng model it embraced in the 1970s. Fenby writes lucidly- this is definitely an essay not a book- but its also an interesting introductory analysis of China's position. As someone who is not an expert in any sense on China, I found it illuminating to read something that went against the conventional wisdom. He lays out a section on further reading as well for those whose appetite for Chinese politics has been stimulated. As an essay its worth saying that Fenby does not really go into depth on some of his arguments: occasionally I found myself thinking his argumentation was rushed- but its still worth reading, even if you might fill in the gaps or end up disagreeing with it later.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise and interesting., 17 Aug. 2014
By 
Helix (South West) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Will China Dominate the 21st Century? (Paperback)
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As someone taking a keen interest in China recently this book's title popped out, and it turns out Fenby presents his answer straight away: no. I like this approach because if you accept this concept the book flows out in front of you much better, his supporting essay is very thought provoking, concise and wholly interesting and most importantly I feel I've learnt a good deal, enough to go it alone and carry on in this subject. I managed to read the whole thing in two afternoons, I suppose you could do it in a day but I just didn't have that much time to spare.

It seems to an outsider that China has all the hallmarks of the next superpower and to read this provided some very thoughtful insight to the contrary and having no knowledge going in I think it's two afternoons well spent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful essay, 14 Aug. 2014
By 
D. P. Mankin (Ceredigion, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Will China Dominate the 21st Century? (Paperback)
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I should have checked a couple of things before ordering this book: the size and number of pages. I was rather disappointed to discover it was less a book and more of an extended essay. That said you can't fault Jonathan Fenby's intimate knowledge of the country. He knows his stuff and explains in a lucid manner. Ultimately, it's easy (very easy) to read this in a single (relatively short) sitting. Was it worth it? Yes. There are some useful insights to be had and if you're looking to improve your understanding of China's economic 'miracle' then this is a worthwhile addition to your book collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful contribution, 5 July 2014
By 
Lost John (Devon, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Will China Dominate the 21st Century? (Paperback)
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'China finds itself at a watershed in which it needs to change but knows that change will face it with its biggest test since Deng Xiaoping found the way out of the disaster of the Mao era in the late 1970s.' 'The spectre of Gorbachev and the Bourbon monarchy is never far away.'

This is, in effect, a 24,000 word essay divided into five convenient chapters. As one would expect from a journalist of Jonathan Fenby's calibre, the prose flows well, is not in any way a difficult read, and is well-larded with historic fact and quotations. Furthermore, it is as up-to date as can be expected of anything not published as newsprint (or on the Internet) - there are 40 references to 2013 events and developments (using Amazon's 'Search Inside' facility the count was easy) - and it is not, as I had anticipated, merely a reproduction with editorial smoothing of pieces that have already appeared in newspapers.

A seasoned China watcher, Fenby does not sport rose-tinted spectacles, and does not subscribe to the popular view that the 21st Century will be China's century. This is a thoughtful contribution to any discussion on the matter. Be sure to read it soon, though, as various aspects of China's internal situation and its relationships with neighbours and some other foreign countries continue to develop rather fast. Within 12 months the book is likely to need an update.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and engrossing book - a must read, 4 July 2014
By 
Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe "Cathy SL" (Reading Berks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Will China Dominate the 21st Century? (Paperback)
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Fenby is a former editor of the Observer and the author of 7 previous books on China. His answer is no and in answering it he delivers a mind blowing antidote to the popular image of China which leads some to believe that this might happen. He lists the huge number of problems with which China is beset such as pollution, corruption, unrest at inequality, and a leadership giving priority to maintaining its own power.

This well written and engrossing book should be read by everyone.

Rating 5 out of 5.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Good Extended Essay, 8 Oct. 2014
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Will China Dominate the 21st Century? (Paperback)
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China could dominate the 21st century, and to me, this is a frightening prospect. Imagine a whole world subjugated by a totalitarian ruler. This, as ever in this series, is a well-written topical essay. For those who poo poo my concern over China, just look at what's happening in Hong Kong at the moment - as I write.

They may be a great economy and they may have beautiful cities and a long-establish culture, but when it comes to ruling countries - no thanks!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Growing China, 16 July 2014
By 
P. R. Pearson "PaulP" (Mkt. Harborough, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Will China Dominate the 21st Century? (Paperback)
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An excellant review of the positoin China is in at the moment, when many believe China will soon be the world's number one. The authou fairly considers why this will not be so.I would recommend the Chinese government to read this as it offers good advice if the will take it. A good read for anyone interested in modern China and its growing proninance.
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Will China Dominate the 21st Century?
Will China Dominate the 21st Century? by Jonathan Fenby (Paperback - 7 Mar. 2014)
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