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<br /> <b>Warning</b>: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, null given in <b>/home/oliverqu/public_html/liveblogs/wp-content/themes/bigfeature/library/functions/theme-functions.php</b> on line <b>930</b><br /> When China rules the world – Martin Jacques | Oliver Quinlan: Live Blogs
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When China rules the world – Martin Jacques


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Screen_shot_2012-06-24_at_11

Until the year 2000 the transformation of China was simply affecting China. Once the economy reached a certain size, the influence began to be felt, and the impact of this rise is growing exponentially.

For the last 200 years the western way of thinking has dominated the world, and modernity has been synonymous with ‘westernisation’. The rise of China shows us that modernity is going to come in many shapes and sizes. One of the consequences of this is we try to understand China in terms of ourselfs. Jacques described this as arrogant and ‘downright ignorant’. We have to make the effort to understand China in its own terms or we will consistently get it wrong.

He offered four building locks for trying to understand China. 

China is a nation state, but for 2000 years it was a civilisation.

The Chinese identity is derived from the thousands of years of being a civilisations. Social relations, the language, the medicine, these are all functions of Chinese civilisation. This is a profound difference from westernism. Western sense of identity is based on nation states. We thnk of China as very centralised, but it actuality it is decentralised. This is evident in the transfer of power in Hong Kong; many people thought the transfer of power would subsume Hong Kong’s individuality. It did not, they managed to achieve ‘one country, two systems’. Whislt we were seeing it as a nation state being subsumed, it was entirely different for the Chinese to see this.

East Asia is the biggest economy in the world

East Asia’s economy is larger than that of Europe and North Ameria, Jacques asserted that the future is here, and this is where we should be looking for how the global economy will develop. East Asia is increasingly China centric.

Race issues and monoculturalism

Apparently over 90% of the Chinese believe they are of the same race. This is so different from the worlds other most popular countries who all think of themselves as very multi racial and multi cultural. Of course such a large country has grown from a variety of different races, but the point is that the Chinese don’t think like that. If China is to become the hegemonic country in the world we need to consider these differences in attitudes from the west. The Chinese have an extrodinarly strong sense of cultural identity, stemming from the concept of China as a civilisation.

The state of ‘The State’ in China

The west often thinks that deomcracy is the source of legitimacy of the state worldwide. Jacques feels this is not the only source of legitimacy, in China there is not democracy in our terms. Yet, he argued, the state enjoys more legitimacy amongst the people than any wester state does. He shared statistics of relative satisfaction with the gorvernment showing the high levels of satisfaction from the Chinese population. To them the state is the embodiment of the Chinese civilisation, and this taps into the stength of Chinese culture.

We approach China with our assumption that the state is fragile; there it is not. We conceptualise the Chinese economy in terms of our pattern of boom and bust; this has not happened there. Things work differently there.

Modernity is often framed in one way; a western one. Jacques study of China not only shines a light on what may become the dominant political and economic force in the world, but also on how we think about our own thinking around the modern world. We should look at China in a different way if we wish to understand it as a rising power, but perhaps we should also look again at our own assumptions and conceptions of modernity as well.

Martin expands on these themes in his recent book.

 

 

 

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