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Why China Will Never Rule the World: Travels in the Two Chinas Paperback – September 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Western Hemisphere Press (September 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0986803502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0986803505
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Why China Will Never Rule the World: Travels In The Two Chinas

Parfitt, who has taught English in Taiwan for over a decade, uses his experience there to start several months of travel through the People's Republic of China in order to challenge the assumptions that China will determine the course of the global economy in the next century. The result is mostly travelogue told from an outsider's perspective, contextualized with overviews of major events in Chinese history. Parfitt argues that China will not rule the world, because as a nation it is more interested in the appearance of success than actual substance. He suggests that culturally, China has little to offer. More importantly, the majority of goods currently being created in China come from non-Chinese companies, again proving a lack of innovation. Parfitt makes a compelling case from the microcosmic level for why it will be difficult for China to become the primary hegemonic force of the 21st century. However, his book lacks the pre-cise facts and figures that he decries in other books promoting Chinese dominance. Parfitt is a persuasive writer and readers will leave his tale scratching their heads and perhaps deciding that they do not want to visit China at all. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Publishers Weekly

About the Author

The author of Notes from the Other China (New York: Algora Publishing, 2007), Troy Parfitt lived and worked as an English teacher in Seoul, South Korea and Taipei, Taiwan for nearly thirteen years. In 2009, he returned to Canada to take a teaching position at that country's oldest English-language university.

More About the Author

Born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1972, Troy Parfitt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Brunswick before moving to Seoul, South Korea in 1996 to teach English. In 1998, he moved to Taipei, Taiwan to teach English and stayed until 2009. In 2007, his first book, Notes from the Other China (Algora Publishing) received mixed reviews. In 2011, his second effort, Why China Will Never Rule the World (Western Hemisphere Press) was met more favorably. Troy currently resides in Edinburgh, Scotland and is working on a volume called Adventures in the Brave New Canada.

Customer Reviews

There is no mention of it spreadying anywhere.
Loren Balazs
Why China Will Never Rule the World is definitely worth reading and its author, Troy Parfitt, most definitely has a point of view.
B. McEwan
It is a well written combination of travel account, historical comment and passionate speculation.
H. Schneider

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on September 8, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I received an advance copy of this book for review purposes. Normally I am not keen to accept such a chore, but this book met my interest sufficiently. It is quite large with over 400 pages, but its lively style and skillful mixture of fun and thoughtfulness never let it become tedious. The final book version may be different from the version that I had for reading.

It is impossible to address all issues within the limits of an amazon review, but I will try to cover the most important ones. The book has three parts: 2 different China trips and a Taiwan trip. It also has 3 different genres for the price of 1: travel account, history summary, and speculation about the future.
We don't seem to have disagreements on the past, the atrocious history. That agreement is certainly to some extent due to our shared reading: Jung Chang, Iris Chang, Fairbanks, Spence, Becker, Fenby, Seagrave....

The travel itinerary covers almost only places that I have also visited over the last 25 years. However, I tend to travel a little more comfortably. Generally, my perspective and my scope of experience are different from the writer's. I am not that much exposed to the cheap and ugly side of the place. I also seem to get to eat well much more often. That is possibly the reason why I am more positive about daily experiences. I rarely run into the aggravating `no can do' attitude that frustrates the writer so (I have heard of the `mei you banfa', but I don't meet it.) His itinerary leaves out some stunning places (which, admittedly, are all more or less afflicted by the symptoms of mass tourism.) All in all the China travels in this book are a bit too negative for my taste, while Taiwan comparisons seem a little biased to the positive side.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on November 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
For years we have heard that China is on the verge of becoming the dominant nation in the world. It's massive population, its rapid industrialization, its expanding economy, its large untapped reservoir of natural resources, and a host of other strengths have been deployed as evidence for this seemingly inevitable transformation of superpower relations around the globe. In my own arena of space history and policy, I am constantly asked to comment on the belief, mistaken though it may be, that China is going to land on the Moon, claim it for the PRC, and exploit its resources for national benefit. Such an assessment is naïve at best; certainly it is not based on serious investigation of what has been happening in the Chinese space program. For all of the capability that this program has developed in the last decade-plus, it still has very far to go before such missions will become feasible. Moreover, the Chinese space program would have to do something no one else has been successful in doing before it can send Taikonauts to the Moon, figure out a reason for doing so. Needless to say, such a mission is problematic.

But what about all of the other talk, also naïve in its emphasis, about China achieving unquestioned superpower status. Troy Parfitt, a Canadian teacher in Asia, was curious about this very Western perception of China and set out to explore that nation and assess its recent transformation. This book is the result. "Why China Will Never Rule the World" is an inartfully named book that argues that the actual nation does not live up to the Western hype. As much an anything it is a travelogue, and as such it provides a fair measure of understanding about the Chinese. Parfitt visited 17 of 22 provinces in China.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. McEwan TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Any book worth reading has a point of view that is supported by its author's research, study and/or experience. Why China Will Never Rule the World is definitely worth reading and its author, Troy Parfitt, most definitely has a point of view. He writes in the book's introduction that he got sick and tired of seeing scores of books proclaiming that China is on the cusp of creating a new world order with itself at the head. It is true that everyone seems to be on the "China is inevitable" hobby horse, which reminds me of the 1980s when it was the fashion to claim that Japan was poised to bury the US. Well, it didn't, and even if it did, I am reasonably sure that it would not have done so in the way that these authors predicted. I suspect that the same is true of China.

This is not to say that I think the West, including the US, is invulnerable; just that I don't see a single nation ascending to rule the world. I prefer the view put forth by Fareed Zakaria in his excellent book, The Post-American World. That book is reasoned and nuanced, while many of these 'China rising' books seem to me to be based on fear. They explain why the West is doomed and how the Chinese are going to take over, the implication being that we non-Chinese should prepare to become enslaved. This sort of fear-mongering serves no one except those who write these books and their publishers. So for that reason alone, Parfitt's book is welcome to me.

I understand that Parfitt's book is an opinion; he is not simply reporting facts. He never claims that he is. He merely argues for a different interpretation of China's history and its current circumstances. And his argument is well made. At various points in the book it is also hilarious.
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