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When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order Hardcover – November 12, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A convincing economic, political and cultural analysis of waning Western dominance and the rise of China and a new paradigm of modernity. Jacques (The Politics of Thatcherism) takes the pulse of the nation poised to become, by virtue of its scale and staggering rate of growth, the biggest market in the world. Jacques points to the decline of American hegemony and outlines specific elements of China's rising global power and how these are likely to influence international relations in the future. He imagines a world where China's distinct brand of modernity, rooted firmly in its ancient culture and traditions, will have a profound influence on attitudes toward work, family and even politics that will become a counterbalance to and eventually reverse the one-way flow of Westernization. He suggests that while China's economic prosperity may not necessarily translate into democracy, China's increased self-confidence is allowing it to project its political and cultural identity ever more widely as time goes on. As comprehensive as it is compelling, this brilliant book is crucial reading for anyone interested in understanding where the we are and where we are going. (Nov.)
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"A clear-eyed look at how China's recent modernization will leapfrog Western 'superiority'." -Kirkus Reviews

"Delivering a tour d'horizon of China's relations with foreign countries, Jacques envisions their future development as comparable to a comeback of imperial China's tributary system. Jacques' views will be discussion starters for trend-spotting students of the world scene." -Booklist

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press; 5th or later Edition edition (November 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594201854
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594201851
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Seth Faison on November 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Like many journalists who covered China in 1989, I thought it obvious that China's Communist Party would fall to ashes within a few years, having lost all credibility at Tiananmen Square. Got that wrong.

As China's economy took off in the 1990s, I knew for sure that steady growth would force the country to become more democratic. Wrong again. (Open, yes. Democratic, no.) At the very least, I figured, a broad swath of Western economists must be right to agree that China's modernization would require a following of accepted rules of Western finance. To develop, China would have to become more transparent and legally accountable, starting with a freely convertible currency. Right? Not really.

As Martin Jacques argues effectively in this book, the West has misjudged China because of a bedrock assumption that modern financial and political systems have to follow some basic principles of openness, rule of law and democracy. That is the paradigm that favored the United States, and paved the way for its world domination, from 1945 onward. But China's remarkable progress is not following the script, and is challenging Western assumptions.

With clear and compelling writing, Jacques makes the case that when China is the dominant power, it will make the rules. It may even create a new international paradigm, one that is just as hard for Americans to foresee as it was for the British a century ago to foresee their own decline, and as it was for the Romans, long before that.

"The West has, for the most part, become imprisoned within its own assumptions," Jacques writes. "Progress is invariably defined in terms of degrees of Westernization, with the consequence that the West must always occupy the summit of human development.
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Format: Hardcover
Martin Jacques' "When China Rules The World" carries a provocative title, but it should not be a surprise. Anyone can see this outcome coming by simply projecting economic growth in the U.S. and China at roughly their current rates; Goldman Sachs gave such conclusions credibility in 2007 when it concluded that China would surpass U.S. GDP in 2027, and double it by 2050. Jacques' book suffers not from an overly wild imagination, but from taking entirely too long to get this already obvious conclusion, and then not exploring enough about what that means for either Britain (his nation) or the U.S.A.

Far too much of "When China Rules The World" is taken up by a detailed historical summary and analysis of China's 5,000-some year history - to establish that it is not prone to colonizing other parts of the world, values unity among its people, and that its predominantly Han 'nationality' of people are becoming increasingly smug (racist?) as China's economic power grows. Jacques could have shortened this material enormously by simply pointing out that the key to China's recent growth has been the pragmatic orientation of its leaders. Obviously, economic growth has been their #1 objective since Mao's death, and public announcements communicated that the military would have to take a back seat. The late Premier Deng Xiaoping demonstrated this pragmatic focus when - despite being Mao's #2 and having been purged twice for not being a strong-enough Communist, he turned the nation's direction around after Mao's death. At the time, Deng explained his lack of commitment to ideology or history as follows: "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat. It's a good cat so long as it catches mice.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The rise of China will likely be one of the largest shifts in global power in human history. The direction it goes and the consequences of the rise are what are pondered in this book and the conclusions are that they will be different than most expect. To be specific it is argued, China occupies a unique position of both size and cultural continuity that makes the nations priorities very different from Western priorities and the adjustment will be hard for people, but inevitable. It is hard to disagree with the high level conclusion that China's rise will continue and that it will be different from the Western growth model. That being said, as its not a contentious conclusion, the substance of this book is filled with imagery rather than fact, and goes between making interesting points and stating the obvious. It often tries to convince the reader of things that no person reading a book let alone this book would need to be convinced of and tends to be patronizing without a point. Regardless, there is a lot in this book, and for all that I dislike, it has interesting and important commentary nonetheless.

The book is split into two parts, The End of the Western World and the Age of China. The End of the Western World definately bothered me more, but luckily, it is the shorter part of the book. It goes to describe the history of Western success and US hegemony, and discusses how Japan is an example of a country which has modernized but has remained distinctly different from the West. One of the pieces of evidence that is discussed is the lack of a 2 party system with the LDP dominating as a one party system- reinforcing the point that its not really a democracy. Unfortunately for the author, the DPJ just took power after the LDP lost in a crushing defeat...
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