71 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Essential reading for those with a keen interest in China and its current development,
This review is from: When China Rules The World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World (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. Eighth, China will for the next several decades, probably until the middle of the twenty-first century, combine the characteristics of both a developed and a developing country.
This book is of essential reading for those who take a keen interest in the progressive and rapid development of the Chinese state and its economy, which already has had far reaching consequences, particularly as it progressively displaces the United States of America a the world's hegemonic power: an event that is likely to occur during this century. I can well remember an `amusing' recommendation made during the early years of the Cold War: "Optimists should learn to speak Russian, while pessimists should learn to speak Chinese." It would now appear that the pessimists would have made the right choice, although there are no obvious signs that the Chinese ascendancy will necessarily have a malign effect on the West, or on those nations which embrace the prevailing Western ideology. Stuart E Hopkins