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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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).
Top customer reviews
When China rules the world is in fact a broad based study that covers many aspects, political, economic, and sociological. The sociological study very precisely and elaborately pins the case that Chinese culture, in both a societal and political manner, is very resistant to change, and even when change comes, it does so on Chinese terms. Jacques, at some length, uses the example of Japan, which, despite it's modernity, has retained it's cultural and societal norms in a very complete sense.
With this precedent already established, Jacques examines how China has had a missionary or mother civilization approach to it's region, and how, even in the course of the 20th century, Confucian norms and approaches continued, even under the reign of Mao, a self declared opponent of Confucianism.
The book is as much about how China sees the world, and it's own views on relations between nations. This points to a possible return to the Tributary system in the future, rather than the Westphalian system of today.
The author makes no naïve assumptions about China's views on it's status in the region, regarding itself (perhaps rightly so) as the mother civilization.
The sections examining China's economy could have been due some more introspection, as they appear somewhat one sided. Jacques moves the date at which China surpasses the US in economic strength forward to 2018, taking into account the Western Economic Crisis. However, Jacques does not consider the weaknesses in the Chinese economy, something that is being talked about more openly, in editorials, academic circles, and regular people. For Economic studies on China, it is worth examining Red Capitalism or Chindia, which paint a far less grandiose image of China's economy.
Regardless of particularly slanted views in some sections, one cannot help but admire the breadth and scope of Jacques's work. This is by far the best analytical study on Chinese culture I have yet read, and is highly recommended.
This is a hard book to rate. It is worthwhile but flawed – often frustratingly so. Yet what’s good is more important than what’s bad, so to give it three stars seems ungenerous.
Jacques is at his best when building the story behind the Chinese world view. One thing China shares with the west is a belief in its own innate distinctiveness, superiority, destiny and rightful claim to privilege. The similarity stops there. China’s historic and cultural references, its identity, its people’s relationship to the state, and its relationship to its neighbours – all are very different from the West’s.
China is used to being dominant, having been so for nearly all of the last two to three thousand years. It so happens that the recent temporary blip in this arrangement (a period including China’s ‘century of humiliation’) is the period during which the current world order (American power, the ubiquitous dollar, the UN, IMF and World Bank, the G7, the English language, even the Westphalian system of distinct sovereign nations) came to prominence.
China had no say in the creation of this world order. As it surges past the United States to re-establish its natural state of dominance (Jacques never questions the inevitability of this outcome), this state of being will slowly but surely change. China will replace, sideline or usurp all these aspects of the current world order and impose regime change – not on a nation, but on a planet. Once it has done so, it will rule the world.
Jacques’ weaknesses are related. The first is an overly dismissive attitude to the West’s achievements, resources and resilience. He would (I’m sure) argue that he is taking on such a wall of bigotry and complacency that any such excessiveness could be excused. Maybe he’d be right. But he fails to turn his critical analysis of the West to critique China. It’s true that since Deng China’s leadership has shown much wisdom. But Deng followed the calamity of Mao’s Great Leap Forward. Continued wisdom is not assured. Jacques overlooks much that is rotten in the state of China.
The consequence of these shortcomings is that a great deal of what Jacques predicts lacks credibility. His arguments simply don’t hang together. This is a shame, because Jacques presents a perspective on China that has much value. His argument that (contrary to mainstream opinion) a richer, more successful, more powerful China will not westernise, will not democratise, and will not shed its uniquely Chinese identity, has merit and implications.
‘When China Rules the World’ is far too long and (unusually for a book of this type) has too many facts getting in the way of making its point. It is too one-sided and selective. But it is worth reading.
This book is head and shoulders above all others in its field for the quality of its content and analysis.
This is a blueprint for the inevitable inescapable changes which are transforming our world right now before our eyes, moment by moment. As I write, today the three top most profitable banks in the world are all Chinese for the first time in history.
A new world order is forming, whether we like it or not, in which China and its developing world partners including Africa, South America and Russia will own the greatest wealth and natural resources, whilst the US and Western Europe become second-tier, exhausted impossibly burdened in debt.
Every school child should read this book because this is their future, this is the handbook and guide to the world they will inhabit for the rest of their lives.
2012 is the year of the Dragon, and China is rising and cannot be stopped. All we can do is adapt.
As New Yorkers are fond of saying: Deal with It.
Read this book and understand the changes before they happen.
To be sure the title is melodramatic but no less true for all that.
For a foretaste of the new world order, read thrillers like: The Serpent's Head - Revenge
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