By Neenah Payne
When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order: Second Edition is by Dr. Martin Jacques, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Modern International Relations, Tsinghua University and at the China Institute, Fudan University.
Greatly revised and expanded, with a new afterword, this update to Martin Jacques’s global bestseller is an essential guide to understanding a world increasingly shaped by Chinese power. Soon, China will rule the world. But in doing so, it will not become more Western. Since the first publication of When China Rules the World, the landscape of world power has shifted dramatically. In the three years since the first edition was published, When China Rules the World has proved to be a remarkably prescient book, transforming the nature of the debate on China.
Now, in this greatly expanded and fully updated edition, boasting nearly 300 pages of new material, and backed up by the latest statistical data, Martin Jacques renews his assault on conventional thinking about China’s ascendancy, showing how its impact will be as much political and cultural as economic, changing the world as we know it. First published in 2009 to widespread critical acclaim — and controversy — When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order has sold a quarter of a million copies, been translated into eleven languages, nominated for two major literary awards, and is the subject of an immensely popular TED talk.
China’s quiet global power shift includes the organization of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) which have provided an increasingly powerful counter-weight to world domination by the West. However, perhaps the biggest quiet paradigm shift has been China’s deep investment in Africa, a continent of 55 nations now increasingly aligned with China.
Contrary to America which has treated African nations condescendingly and Europe which has been abusive since its colonization of Africa after the Berlin Conference in 1884-1885, China has approached Africans with respect. It is investing billions of dollars to build wells, schools, universities, hospitals, roads, highways, airports, harbors, manufacturing plants, etc. in a win-win situation for China and Africa.
How to Understand China’s Sudden Rise
Dr. Jacques’ talk seen below “When China Rules The World” is an easy introduction to the ways in which China is different from the West. Jacques describes the enormity of China’s territory and population – as well as the rapidity with which that population is growing. He also discusses the accelerating expansion of the Chinese economy which now equals that of the West. Jacques points out that in the last 30 years, the Chinese government has presided over the most remarkable transformation in human history.
Dr. Jacques explains that the last 500 years have been a time of European domination, but we are now moving into a new era. The character of international relations will change profoundly. The 85% of the world’s population that has been dominated by the West since the British Industrial Revolution starting in the 18th century will now have their say for the first time.
Historical experiences of countries like China and India have been de-legitimated by Western domination. However, they are now becoming enfranchised and what they have to say will become part of the global debate. Dr. Jacques discusses what is likely to happen when China becomes the clearly dominant power in the world. The West must now make the effort to understand the “other”.
Dr. Jacques says that the 2008 financial crisis was a major turning point in the relationship between China and the US. Prior to that, China was expected to overtake the Western economies in 2027. However, by 2013, the projection was changed to 2018. This means that the world has moved into a new era in which globalization is being shaped by China — and the West is being marginalized.
We are moving into the “Chinese Economic World Order” which has four major aspects:
- Trade: China is increasingly the world’s leading trading power in imports and exports.
- Finance: In 2009 and 2010, China lent more than the World Bank to the developing world.
- Currency: Half of China’s trade with the developing world is in the renminbi, not dollars.
- Resources: The European Union asked China for a loan to save the euro—which it refused!
Dr. Jacques points out that Russia, which used to be aligned with Western Europe, is now increasingly aligned with China. That represents a major shift in world power. Dr. Jacques described President Obama’s attempt to launch the Trans Pacific Partnership as a failed plan to exclude China. He explains how Australia — which always saw itself as part of the West — has now been drawn into a deep engagement with China because it has the mineral resources China needs. For that reason, Australia is the only Western economy that did not have a recession after 2008! Dr. Jacques advised the Australians not to assume that English will always be the world’s lingua franca – and to learn Mandarin!
China As a Global Power
In the 2019 talk below “What China Will Be Like As A Great Power”: Martin Jacques Keynote (32nd Annual Camden Conference), Dr. Jacques points out that the question of what China will be like as a global power would not have been asked with a sense of imminence 10 years ago. We could see China rising dramatically then, but we didn’t see it as a great power. However, the United States declined after the 2008 financial crisis while the Chinese economy doubled in that period.
Dr. Jacques points out that we are in a new situation now that requires the West to understand that China has a very different way of thinking and a very different history from that of the West. For example, in the 500 years from 14th century to the mid-19th century, China fought only one major war with another country (Vietnam). However, the West has fought countless wars because its model of dominance is expansion. However, since China has always seen itself as dominant because it is the Middle Kingdom, it saw no need to expand.
Dr. Jacques predicts that Chinese economic power is likely to be much greater than any we have ever seen. While China values its relationship with the US and European Union, its priority is its relationship with the developing world. In 1978, when Deng Xiaoping’s reforms began, China was extremely poor – poorer than many African countries. So, China sees itself as having an affinity with the developing world and understands the problems of those nations.
In addition, like other East Asian nations, China is extremely poor in natural resources. To fuel its industrial transformation, China needed large amounts of raw materials. So, its relationship with Africa, which dates back to the 1950s, has been very important. For this reason, China sees its future very much in terms of its relationship with the developing world. This is why China has created such a strong relationship with African countries. By becoming a serious source of demand for Africa’s raw materials, China has boosted those prices. That is perhaps the biggest reason African growth rates have been so strong. China has also been generous in building various kinds of infrastructure all across Africa.
China has invested heavily in impressive high-speed transportation systems at home. Its “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) shows its innovative vision to unite and transform the world by massively facilitating global travel and trade. Dr. Jacques foresees a revolutionary governance across the region inspired by the vision of the BRI. The Chinese renminbi currency will become increasingly important in these areas.
Dr. Jacques points out that, unlike the former Soviet Union, China is not interested in a military arms race. China will not be a political meddler as Europe and America have been because it believes that it is unique. The US must learn how to live in this new world in which leadership is shifting to China.
China’s Belt & Road Initiative Will Change The World
Dr. Martin Jacques is also a Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, Fudan University, Shanghai, as well as the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore.
In the video Dr. Martin Jacques – Big Picture: China’s Belt & Road Initiative will change the world as we know it, Dr. Jacques points out that in 2013, Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, made a speech about the new land-based Silk Road. In the following year, he made a speech about the maritime Silk Road. Dr. Jacques points out that it is difficult to think of any other country that could have come with the idea like the hugely ambitious Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). However, it lies in the Chinese tradition of building things like the Great Wall as well as the original Silk Road that united China and Europe for a thousand years. Columbus (Colon) began the “Age of Discovery” when he sailed West to find a new route to the East. That began 500 years of European colon-ialization and domination.
China recognized that its unprecedented economic transformation was produced by extremely large-scale investment in infrastructure led by the state. So, it realized that the Asian landmass which is extremely poor could similarly be transformed. Dr. Jacques says China is the greatest exponent of development for the developing world because China has the vision and the money. He says that China is not just a country – or even a continent. It is a sub-global system with one fifth of the world’s population and a huge land mass.
The BRI proposal has grown a lot since it was first announced. There are reportedly 900 projects in the BRI and $50 million has been spent so far. It may take several decades to complete. Dr. Jacques says that if the BRI is even half successful, it is going to transform the world – not just Eurasia. He says we are witnessing the shift of the center of the global economy to Eurasia by 2050. BRI will accelerate this shift.
Dr. Jacques points out that the BRI represents a globalization model built in the developing world rather that the Western model based in the developed world. He predicts that Eurasia will strongly turn toward China as a role model for development and culture – just as countries used to look to America. China is going to become much more important than it is now. The Belt & Road Initiative is one of the most important ways of thinking worldwide since World War II. It is making sure that the world sees China as a partner rather than as a threat. It is promoting collaboration and peace rather than war.
The Chinese Miracle
Louis-Vincent Gave is co-author of Clash of Empires: Currencies and Power in a Multipolar World and author of two other books. He founded the financial research company Gavekal. In “China Myths, Propaganda, Realities” seen below, Gave says China has experienced an economic miracle — the biggest in history. The Chinese were starving 30 years ago. China brought a billion people out of poverty.
In a highly-deflationary world, China has been running the biggest trade surpluses in human history. In a world with very little growth, China is sucking $600 billion dollars of growth from the rest of the world. China has the second biggest internet in the world – second only to the US. China began by copying US technology which it modified for the Chinese market – but it is becoming increasingly innovative.
China has a strong educational system which is allowing it to be creative. In the early 1990s, China was graduating 300,000 university students each year. In 2016, China graduated seven million university students. That’s an improvement in human capital such as the world has never seen. However, innovation requires protection of intellectual property which China does not have, although it is trying to implement the legal structure for that now. Gave shows that China is shifting other countries from an alliance with the US to an alliance with Asia while it is moving contracts from US dollars into the Chinese currency, renminbi.
The Transformation of China
In the early 20th century, the Communists established the People’s Republic of China after defeating the Japanese, nationalists, and imperialists. Mao Zedong was Chairman of China from 1949-1954, but his influence continued until his death in 1976. Mao’s goal was to modernize China, but his policies had disastrous results. In the mid-20th century, Deng Xiaoping, as the paramount leader of China from 1978-1992, opened China to the West and modified communism to include elements of capitalism.
Xi Jinping served as Vice President from 2008 until 2013 when he became President. Xi was to be in office until 2023. However, in 2018, the Chinese constitution was modified so he can serve for life. China is increasingly taking center stage as a world leader now with a very different vision from the West.
Mao Zedong: People’s Republic of China
Mao Zedong had a great vision for China, but his disastrous policies killed millions of Chinese.
1 – Great Leap Forward 1958: In 1949, Mao Zedong announced the formation of the People’s Republic of China. The Communists had defeated the Nationalists, Imperialists, and Japanese. The following videos discuss the disastrous results of Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”, a series of reforms that Mao launched in 1958 to collectivize farms and industrialize China. Famine hit in 1959. Communism – The Promise and the Reality – Great Leap Forward provides an understanding of the problems Mao was trying to solve and his failed plans.
Mao Killed 45 Million in 4 Years says that the Chinese died through mass starvation due to Mao’s failed agricultural policies. China’s Great Leap Backward says Mao’s policies resulted in the greatest mass murder in human history and led to complete totalitarianism.
Why Mao Zedong Was The Most Brutal Tyrant says the number of Chinese who died under Mao may have been as high as 65 million. Socialism kills: cannibalism & torture in Mao Zedong’s China discusses the depth of despair that Mao’s policies caused as he tried to quickly turn an agrarian society into an industrialized nation. Farmers were blamed as the agrarian reform failed and were executed in public. Communist China – The Great Leap Forward explains that Mao’s impatience caused the disastrous results.
2 – Cultural Revolution: In 1966, in an effort to head off challenges to his leadership, Mao unleashed a wave of unrest that swept across China. He wanted to root out opposition and rid the country of old Chinese culture, social values, and history. Mao launched the Cultural Revolution with the assistance of the Gang of Four and everyone followed Mao’s “Little Red Book” of his quotations. At the forefront of the Cultural Revolution were the Red Guards — young, radical students and fanatical supporters of Mao. Parents and teachers were vilified — some beaten and killed. Old temples, architecture, and literature were destroyed.
4_6 Communism – The Promise and the Reality – Great Leap Forward says that up to a million people were killed or driven to suicide. Books were burned and museums were pillaged. As anarchy spread, schools and hospitals closed and offices and factories were in chaos. After two years, the army was called in to re-establish order. However, the Cultural Revolution ended only when Mao died in 1976. The Gang of Four were arrested and charged with throwing China into chaos. The Gang’s leading figure was Jiang Qing — Mao’s last wife. Mao’s most cherished ideas were abandoned.
Still ashamed of my part in Mao’s Cultural Revolution explains that by 1976, Mao had lost control of the Cultural Revolution.
Deng Xiaoping: “Architect of Modern China”
The Opening of China: President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 allowed the world to view images of China for the first time in over two decades. The move proved to be a geopolitical game changer – ending nearly 25 years of non-communication. The “Week that Changed the World” culminated in the announcement of the joint US-China Communiqué in Shanghai.
Deng Xiaoping was Chairman of the Central Advisory Commission from 1982-1987. After the death of Mao Zedong, Deng led China through a series of far-reaching market-economy reforms that earned him the reputation as the “Architect of Modern China”. Deng’s visit to the US in 1979 initiated a series of high-ranking exchanges that continued until 1989. Although he never held office as the head of state, Deng introduced a new brand of thinking that combined socialist ideology with free market enterprise. He opened China to foreign investment, policies that are credited with developing China into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and raising the standard of living of hundreds of millions.
Bill Clinton and NAFTA: President Bill Clinton betrayed his pledge to his supporters when he signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993. NAFTA was meant to eliminate most trade barriers between the US, Mexico, and China and led to the creation of the World Trade Organization which started globalization. Much of US technology and manufacturing was transferred to China. Louis-Vincent Gave says in his video that China has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of globalization – becoming the manufacturing center for the world. Before NAFTA, almost all products in the US were labeled “Made in USA”. Now, almost all products in America carry the label “Made in China”.
Battle in Seattle: In 1999, 10,000 people took to the streets of Seattle to protest the meeting of the WTO and globalization. The WTO, IMF, and World Bank could not meet anywhere in the world without massive street protests against globalization.
War on Terror: Since the 9/11 attacks, the War on Terror has allowed the globalist organizations to hold their meetings by imposing security against “terrorists”.
President Trump’s campaign to “Make America Great Again” is an acknowledgement that the US has slipped dramatically since globalization and is a call to restore America through nationalism. In 2018, Trump gave a speech at the United Nations in which he declared his opposition to globalization and his support for nationalism for every country. How Xi Jinping is set to become more powerful than Trump shows that while Trump opposes globalization, China is embracing it in multiple ways.
Xi Jinping: Global Visionary
Xi Jinping was Vice President from 2008-2013 when he became President of China. Xi is considered the most powerful leader in China since Mao Zedong. Since the National People’s Congress removed term limits for the presidency in 2018, Xi may be President for the rest of his life. Xi’s second wife Peng Liyuan was a famous folk singer. His daughter attended Harvard and graduated in 2014.
How does President Xi help the poor says Xi made more than 50 trips to China’s most impoverished areas as part of his commitment to eradicate poverty by 2020. In three decades, China lifted 700 million Chinese out of poverty – an achievement that has amazed the world.
Three major initiatives show that Xi’s vision extends beyond China to transforming the world:
- BRICS: The coalition of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in the “BRICS” nations is a powerful shift in both economic and political power away from the “Washington Consensus” including the IMF, WTO, NATO, and European Union. BRICS are increasingly moving away from the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency – with major implications for America.
- The New Silk Road: Ambition and Opportunity says that in 2013, President Xi announced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in one of the most significant speeches in China’s recent history. It is the largest infrastructure project since the Marshall Plan. The BRI aims to modernize the ancient Silk Road and marks Xi as a global visionary creating a new infrastructure for world trade and collaboration that supports peace and sustainable development in 65 countries. The BRI facilitates cooperation rather than competition.
- Partnering With Africa: China is investing heavily in the infrastructure of the 55 African countries by building roads, highways, schools, universities, hospitals, bridges, harbors, etc. The Chinese are collaborating with Africans in a respectful way that is helping Africa recover from 500 years of enslavement and colonialism. This is a win-win situation in which China extracts the mineral resources it needs for industrialization and thereby drives up prices for those commodities.
These initiatives represent The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State in which the division between rich and poor is eliminated and everyone thrives. This is a radically different vision for the world from the one held by the Western powers for 500 years in which Europe and the US have dominated the world. This vision is creating a new balance of power in a New World Order.
How China Will Change Almost Everything
China: Time of Xi (Episode #3) All Aboard says China hosted the G20 meeting in 2016 for the first time. President Xi has articulated a new mindset. It is a global vision based on collaboration in the recognition of a shared destiny. The rise of China is setting a new bar in many fields. China is leading the world in the recovery of deserts. China is the biggest contributor to the UN Peace Keeping Operations with 35,000 Chinese serving as UN Blue Helmets. China launched the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2015 to help empower other countries. It now has billions of dollars from 100 countries.
In 2014, China sent medical personnel to West Africa to help with the Ebola crisis. That was its first time responding to a health need abroad. By 2016, China had sent 600 health workers to 69 countries at a cost of $6 billion. President Xi’s good will vision is similar to the Peace Corps launched in the 1960s by President Kennedy – but on steroids!
Dr. Martin Jacques – How China will change almost everything explains that until the mid-19th century, the Chinese economy was the largest in the world. It represented one third of the global economy. However, China went into precipitous decline in the 19th century. The British Opium Wars in 1840 forced China to open. By the end of the 19th century, China was occupied by many foreign powers.
Britain took Hong Kong and Portugal got Macau. That began China’s “Century of Humiliation”. Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997 and Portugal returned Macau in 1999.
When Deng Xiaoping focused on economic growth, China began by making cheap goods for export.
That became China’s engine of transformation. In 1980, the Chinese economy was five percent of the American economy. However, in 2012, President Xi began massive investment in infrastructure for development. By 2030, the Chinese economy will be about 30% of the global economy – as it was in 1820! So, it is taking China about 200 years to recover.
China has become very innovative in a wide variety of ways that are inspiring the world now. China’s bullet trains are making European and American cities look old-fashioned! China has the biggest car market in the world – about 30% bigger than the American market. China mandated that starting in 2019, 10% of Chinese cars must be electric. China is now challenging Silicon Valley in the most tech sectors. Alibaba is much larger than Amazon. Chinese no longer use cash and don’t use credit cards. They use “We Chat” on their mobile phones to pay for everything with their QR codes! As China begins to rule the world, the West is going to have to play a lot of catch-up now!
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