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China as the New Global Power
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We talk about China’s rise, says my guest today, but we don’t really take onboard what it means.

British thinker and writer Martin Jacques says what it means is the end of the long run of Western pre-eminence in the world. Britain, Europe, America — done, as top dogs. Western ways and perspectives and presumptions — fine, but ignorable. China, stepping up with a whole new way — it’s own old way — of doing things.

Now, he says, comes the real Chinese revolution.

This hour, On Point: Martin Jacques and “When China Rules the World.”


Martin Jacques joins us from London. He’s co-founder of the UK think tank Demos, a columnist for The Guardian and New Statesman, and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics Asia Research Centre. His new book is “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order.” 

Joining us from San Diego is Susan Shirk, chair in China and Pacific Relations and director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California, San Diego. She oversaw U.S.-China policy at the State Department from 1997 to 2000, and is the author of “China: Fragile Superpower.”

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  • http://www.alcantaracontractor.com carlos alcantara

    Good morning!!!

    How can China be a global power with so much poverty and having its citizens with lowest incame in the world?

  • cory

    Good luck China. Just remember it is lonely on top. Hopefully you’ll make better decisions than we did.

  • Bob

    What a ludicrous thesis…Tom’s typical “the sky is falling” introduction was enough to drive me away. Glad I didn’t waste more time on this.

  • RAG

    The “West” has nobody to blame for the rise of China but itself – its greed has bank rolled “Red China”.

  • Confucius

    China quickly becoming great “bubble” economy. What go up, must come down.

  • http://www.healthy-kids.info Ellie Goldberg

    In 1965, in Ann Arbor at UMich, I had a political science class with AFK Organski. He talked about China (and India) rising based on numbers of people, resources, and organization. He said as soon as those countries were organized, the US would just wave as China sped by and took the lead – economically, etc. He recommended that we all study Chinese.

  • JC

    There is no doubt that Global Poer is shifting to the East. Large US Banks and Investment Houses started shifting the bulk of their money there 10 years ago and have now drained the domestic population of much of their wealth to do so. Our own banks have left us little monetary power or manufacturing power to combat it.

  • Dennis Kerr

    Confucius’ teachings about standing up for your friends is informing the Chinese about American values. Brand name after brand name is abandoning American manufacturing for Chinese manufacturing. This makes capitalism look bad.

    This also relates to the second half of the show about slavery before and during the American Civil War. Before the civil war, consumers in the North were buying cheap cotton shirts from slave holders in the South. Today, we buy cheap cotton shirts from partners of slave holders in Asia.

    At the end of the day, it is trustworthiness that rules the day. How is it that American troops operate along the Chinese border in Afghanistan? Because we are trusted. Confucius observers note we are trustworthy allies of South Koreans against North Korea. Chinese do not fear our motives along their border because we are seen as honest. If the world saw Chinese communist values as honest, they would do the convenient thing and encourage Chinese intervention in Afghanistan instead of us.

    If only our bankers could be as honest as our troops. Increasingly we see the financial district destroying the very system that makes them individually wealthy. We taxpayers are borrowing money from China to bail out banks that lobby to keep the loose dishonest regulations.

    As trade deficits lead naturally to financial deficits, the race is on between the US and China to develop a full functioning honest form of capitalism. Whoever does it first will end up the real winner in the short and long term.

  • pm

    Sadly America has become the patsy for China’s bellicose and puffy view of itself. Utterly toying with America’s blind corner when it comes to economic advantage, China already has poised itself to push it’s agendas into the crevices of our culture, politics and economy….if not already in practice.
    We have turned utter blind eyes to these facts.
    Kissing economic ass, in this case, has huge implication and consequences.
    They’ve already infiltrated American computer systems at all levels…and continue to wage holocause against Tibet.
    This is not some cute fiscal well. Buyers be very wary!

  • pm

    Susan Shirk is speaking clearly.

  • Marc

    I wonder how dumb the chinese think we are. We borrow from them in order to save the world from terrorism by waging wars against countries who have handfuls of terrorists who can quickly move to other countries. I wonder if when the microphone’s aren’t on, they think of us, at best, as well meaning chumps.

  • Edith

    So, should we all be buying wuan now while they’re cheap?

  • P Uncorrect

    According to Susan Shirk: “China doesn’t stand for much.”? How arrogance!

  • http://x Bart

    Who is the US and Western Civ to speak about amorality and a dog eat dog way of life? Sounds like sour grapes to the US being surpassed by China like we did to the British 250 years ago.

  • Olivia

    Admittedly, I know nothing about this topic, but it seems to me that the leaps and bounds that China is making come about as it ajusts itself to be more Western (and less Eastern) in its ways–economically for sure, but certainly culturally as well.

  • marjoire Hammock

    I am afraid that China has become the new exploiter in Africa. To date they have supported the worst dictators, bringing guns to Zimbabwe to support Mugabwe, Boosting up tyrants in the Congo, moving locals to the margin in their own country, bringing colonialist back to the continent as destructive as the said to be former European and Islamic invaders. I agree China does not stand for much that is good for a new globilization.

  • HK Long

    If china or India become culturally dominant arround the world it may be tramatic for our national political psyche but it will probably be a very big benefit. 1. If we have less influence in african, middle eastern and south Asian countries culturally. I think the Muslim extremist (terrorist) move mention will die Down as there will be less western influence in these regions and less reason for them to continue waging holy wars. 2. If we can’t afford to field a big military overseas and find we are relatively save, our economy and infrastructure and education systems will benefit from having freed up resources. Our standard of living will not decline and will most likely get better. Hopefully it will give us a chance to perfect our democracy and finally establish the rule of law over the rule of money. I’d love to hear Martin’s response.

  • Dennis Kerr

    Your last caller mistakenly said that Confucius teachings are “top-down”. They were the first minimalist government movement. They created it from scratch.

    Emperors and Communists have one thing in common. They try to twist Confucianism to their own ends. Many religious and democratic (small d) people I have met in Japan and Korea are also correctly Confucians.

    Communists have proven themselves to be bad Confucians. The ideals of the western model are simply much more compatible with Confucius than Communism. Now we simply have to create a respectable and honest system to impress the Chinese while there is still time.

  • Carolann Najarian

    Two comments:

    1.Why does any country have to dominate? That is a notion we need to reexamine. In addition, the US population — insulated from the rest of the world despite the internet — has no knowledge of what is really going on. We are a third world country — unable to fix our roads, provide health care, and more forward on innovations.

    2. Unless the US frees itself from Middle East oil and becomes the leader in green energy (which as your guest says China is already doing!) we do not have a chance to maintain our standard of living (forget leading the world). c.

  • mark

    a brit talking about the end of us empire?
    irony on the radio. i’m not sure if china will be taking over,but i’m sure it’s over for the usa.

  • Joanna Drzewieniecki

    For developing countries, Confucianism is the best model in so far as it views development as something that should extend to all the population in as much as possible. This is vastly different than Latin America, where elites only provide for the majorities of their population when forced to do so by public unrest (Brazil is only a partial exception and Chile another one but for different reasons). As a result of these differences, countries like South Korea eliminated illiteracy and extended education and social services to all its population relatively quickly after WWII at the same time as countries like Peru, despite an agrarian reform, continue to languish in inequality with little hope for future change while elites either squander their earnings or investment them abroad.

  • Jim

    Martin Jacques is quite, quite unbiased. in fact i did not see some of the things he mentioned today coming from a pro-china perspective. many people just think they know everything and blast against china due to the fact china does not take the road of democracy. democracy is not for everyone. therefore, i hope people can take this opportunity to correct their ignorance.

  • Frank Rock

    Corrupt China officials pocket 50 billion: media
    Jan 10 10:49 PM US/Eastern

    Thousands of officials have fled China over the past 30 years with some 50 …

    Thousands of officials have fled China over the past 30 years with some 50 billion dollars in public funds, state media said Monday, as the government scrambles to stem the tide of corruption.
    As many as 4,000 officials have disappeared, using criminal gangs, mainly in the United States and Australia, to launder their ill-gotten gains, buy real estate and set up false identities, the Global Times said.

    A joint task force involving 15 Chinese ministries has been set up to choke off graft in government ranks, the paper said.

    In 2009, authorities investigated 103 cases involving the outbound travel of more than 300 officials, the paper said, citing a party official tasked with disciplinary issues.

    In one case, the disappearance to France in 2008 of Yang Xianghong, a top Communist Party official in Wenzhou city, led to the arrest of his wife, who was charged with trying to launder 20 million yuan (2.9 million dollars), it said.

    The paper did not detail how the 50 billion dollars were funneled overseas, or how the officials were linking up with criminal gangs abroad.

    Chinese President Hu Jintao has for years made fighting official corruption a priority, saying that the scourge is a matter of life and death for the ruling Communist Party.

    In recent years, China has sought to negotiate more extradition treaties with Western nations to help it repatriate and punish officials fleeing overseas with public funds.

  • Ying Xu

    Totally agree with Carolann Najarian.

  • william cordova

    historical amnesia it seems has formed many of the dismissive comments
    made here and host Tom Ashbrook. China does have human right violations
    but so does the US and other European countries. If we are to be critical of
    the Chinese landscape then we cannot have a double standard that excludes
    Human right violations in the US. We need to remember that there are political
    prisoners like Chip Fitzgerald, Leonard Peltier, Mumua Abu Jamal, Cisco Torres
    and many other individuals incarcerated for their “political views” than any actual or implied crimes. Poverty in the US is equal to a third world country but we neither acknowledge this nor do “hosts” include this to make a point. It all seems like a simplified exercise in “US AGAINST THEM” or “the west is pure and clean” and look at the Chinese and their human right violations while the US still commits crimes against its citizens through fear, terrorism and war.

  • Kris

    The economics of the USA are driven by the financial oligarchy and the public service unions (who are breaking the backs of tax payers thruout the country). Members of those “groups” will survive as supra-citizens-of-the-world. The REST of the US will be the Banana Republic that is already in the making.

    We should have reached out to Central and South America and helped them to develop, instead of helping China by borrowing so much money from them.

    I see China as very materialistic. To the degree to which the US let the financial oligarchs determine our current state, we deserve to be overtaken by the even more materialistic China.

    I lament. It was our OWN selfishness that got us into this. Had we refused to trade with China until they gave Tibet its freedom, as just one example, we would have been following the moral road we still think we follow, but, alas, we’ve been following greedy values: cheap goods and cheap labor, lots of goods for us.

    We really started out that way ourselves. The Pilgrims looking for religious freedom was a snippet of the American colonial experience. Most of the colonies were economic ventures built on land grabbing and slavery: greedy values. In so far as sending our labor off to China is just short of using slave labor, we found a way to re-create our own colonial values which were NOT humanistic, spiritual, or democratic. I do NOT think that most individual Americans are responsible for this. We are IN this mess of getting what we deserve because our democracy has gotten away from us. We are ruled by the financial oligarchs and public service unions. We need major campaign finance reform AND financial sector regulations. Without those measures, our individual votes at election time are practically worthless.

    I thank Martin Jacques for this brilliant hour!!! I couldn’t agree with him more, and, to my credit, I have been thinking along the same lines just by listening and reading. I’m certain his book has incredible scholarship and knowledge to underscore what from me is just an opinion. But, if we could all believe in our judgments, we might see that we could expect more from our politicians than more of the same. We might see that we can shape our society, our economy, our democracy, instead of watching “forces” change it.

  • pm

    It’s so easy to forget the brutality, inequity, corruptive and oppression of the Communist regime when they offer cheap (often dubious) labor, a billion potential consumers, and put on a flashy Olympics face. China would love to be the New World Order. They don’t have the bullion (so to speak) behind the facade of progress.
    And yes, they do take total advantage of USA because we are indeed too trusting and honest basically. And they are laughing all the way as our systems teeter.

  • Steve Smith

    The Rise of China – I hope and pray that the Pandora’s Box of the Enlightenment will prove to be too insidious and overwhelming to snuff out, no matter who rules the political world. Right now, in Africa, India, developing nations all over the world, women are organizing from the bottom up (anti-top-down-rule) to dig wells, fight poverty and female mutilation–TRADITIONs that have been deemed “sacred” and handed down from forefathers. My son taught in Vietnam, and he shakes his head and says what a disaster Confusianism is, and how the students take no initiative–take the ball and run with it. We take for granted bedrock ideals of the power of rational thought and individual human minds examing and discerning the nature of the unirverse ON THEIR OWN. But your guest points to a couple of thousand years of Chinese “progress” with a handful of innovations. It is NOT and has never been the consistent opening cornupcopia of invention, freedom of thought, the challenging of existing institutional mind-control (e.g.-churches, power structures, oppressive acts of goverment in our own south coditied in law against fellow human beings). I say, is there built into their top-down view a fatal flaw? Is the foundation to “take over the world’s culture and inertia” truly up to it? Jefferson said we must constantly refresh and challenge the powers that be. The communists in Beijing say, let us tell you what we must do…. and there lies the fatal flaw, for earthly institutions (including the Church, where ere that Church may be) is the flaw of power demanding obedience. Decartes and his progeny (us) believe that the world and universe is ours for the examining and ours for sculpting our own philosophies, talents and efforts. That no government, church or top down authority can succeed when human being realize their true power and lift their eyes fromm muck of ignorance and compliant fatalism. See, I believe that pandora’s box has been opened, and I pray they can’t stop–put back in the box the golden threads that are growing like roots into societies all over the world…. where one person can make wonderful things, go their own way, and if what they espouse and believe and work at has efficacy, then it will ring the strings of the music of the spheres. China can ONLY succeed and “take over” if it absorbs and fuses the fruits of the Enlightenment that are NOT time and Western specific. Too many women, too many poor people, too many oppressed scientists, philoophers, inventors and golden child of the Enlightenment are waiting, hoping, praying (and working) to make sure that all this does not wither and die in a giant bureaucracy within whose spartan green rooms, dim bulbs flickering, and each citizen is told what to do and what to believe. Sorry folks, you can’t have it both ways. gunpowder. Phaw. They were so ignorant of the “discovery” that no one rose his or her head up and dared say, gee, we could move earth with this (or kill other human beings). Paper. Hurray. So what. Used mainly for caligraphic exercises and government recordings. but Gutenberg and his press with that paper did more to facilitate the dissemination of human ideas, pass on human wisdom, thus making the Enlightenment possible. Aristotle was a magnificent thinker. Confucius, too. But one man or woman’s ideas cannot be the stasis of all thinking. I read Aristotle not for his “discovery” of the four elements that make up concrete reality. I read him for his comments on humanity and the truths that withstand the test of time. He could not build a refrigerator to keep food from rotting. He was only one man. Same with Confucius, yes, read him/them. There is wisdom in them beyond measure, but!!!! Are they to be our top down thinkers where all is defined by them? No, we march forward, pushing past the barriers of bureaucracies that want power and hold power by telling us what to believe, think, and do. Sure, china can make an edict and say…. okay, now we will all do this. And they will all try. And societies DO need to have goals and rudders on their ships. But when it comes to humane manifestations of people conquering, surmounting their obstacles, do we see and get the full possibilities of human destiny. china, india, little green martians…. whoever “takes over” the world will either have to quash it, or let it flower. The mutilated women in Africa know what side they’re on. The people of India know that Borlag’s Green Revolution saved milliions from starvation–shiva didn’t. In the 3rd world, most of the Chinese they see are there ONLY for the riches of their continent as did the old colonial powers. But now, we have changed. We have thousands and thousands of NGO’s working tirelessly with their brothers and sisters in places like Africa, and for what? Personal gain. Glory to the Revolution? No, because they see it as their duty as human beings with hearts and minds and the WILL to make things just a little better. Did Jonas Salk make the polio vaccine just to enrich himself or the “STATE!!”. Sometime look at how he lived. HIs home. Warren Buffet. Is he after power? Just money? He lives in a simple home in Omaha, and he is direct heir of that enlightenment…. that the power he has lies in taking his grandchildren to Dairy Queen every Saturday, and it doesn’t take billions to do it, and you don’t have to kowtow to some big daddy at the top of a social pyramid.

    Huh uh. It’s too late for the top-downers who push us down and tell us what to believe and what is reality. Even if the next century shows us the rise of the nation-state of china, if china truly wants to be great, it must wear the crown of the enlightenment, or it is doomed. Make it your own. Have the icing on the cake be their own icing with their own flavor, but to truly be great in this modern world, the Enlightenment must be the foundation on which to build.

    Pandora’s box is open and the spirits are free, and they cry freedom and change and equality and humanity and the fraternity of us all. I pray they can’t put it back in the box.

  • http://www.theboxcarkids.wordpress.com Chantal

    Wow- a lot of hostility, fear and aggression in these comments! Personally I plan to watch China’s rise with interest. I am considering moving to China to teach English this year- having been unemployed for 6 months without being able to find a job here- and look forward to getting an inside look at a very intriguing culture.

  • ai

    All the cute talk about China vs. US. China is a brutal totalitarian state. They have no history of democracy and will become frightened as more of its citizens develop wealth and with it political influence. And they will view any outside country as the enemy.

    We will have war with China.

  • Dawn Fancher

    I really cannot believe how racist this show was! Caller after caller made sweeping, highly insulting generalizations (they are amoral, do not understand the Enlightenment, are not capable of being creative) about one fifth of the world’s population with very little check. And certainly no check for the host. And how do you talk about the growing influence of China and not mention Africa until the last 2 minutes of the show?

  • Jody

    Regarding the China comment from Facebook heard on the radio stating that China would not ascend completely or culturally due to human rights violations . . . please think back about U.S. human rights record since the founding of the country (slavery, womens rights) and the racial discrimination which occured legally as recently as the 1960s.

  • Scott

    Can Mr. Jaques comment on the recent article in the New York Times in which Mr. Chanos predicts the collapse of China and discusses the “China bubble.” Is there a “China Bubble”?

  • ageofaaquarius

    I don’t know what to make of all the comments about the notion of CHINA the BIG BAD WOLF, oh don’t ever trust this communist country. Those comments are short sighted. If you are a true human right activist, then please count in those millions of Chinese who were lift from poverty by the rise of Chinese economy.

    China has 5000 years of history and culture, Communism is only a fracture part of it, which happened to happen in our life time. And if someone really truly understands Chinese history and culture, how China became Communist country, and is transcending to another social structure, one wouldn’t sound like another typical cold war propaganda.

    Now bashing communist is getting old and moldy, bringing nothing new to the table.

  • ageofaaquarius

    There are still “Black Panther’ political prisoners in prisons RIGH NOW in US. What do you say about that?

    Clean up our own closet before we criticize others’.

  • mitch hampton

    It is astonishing to me that this discussing is so bereft of any considerations of objectivity in ethics. The discussion proceeds as if China were merely a plucky, bright and victorious country and not also a horrible sort of totalitarian dictatorship, as if all of the worlds’ countries are worth of equal evaluation and the values of democracy are merely so much Western convention rather than a decent way of governing. My argument in no way excuses past Western behavior vis a vis other countries but it does ask us to hold all the worlds’ countries to certain ethical standards. The use of Confucianism an ancient wisdom can be used to cover up the reality of contemporary Chinese oppression. I agree with the guests’ conclusion and certainly his attitude towards how to handle loss with graciousness. But I feel he should be harder on China. He is too relativistic.

  • Nick in NYC

    Interesting topic. I’ve always feared that if China can demonstrate that it’s possible to have a successful economic and military power for an elite of a satisfactory size, this will further push Western corporations down their current path, to consider democracy to be annoying and un-necessary.

  • Huyu

    The world should know that other than praises for our fellow men in other countries, we chinese have nothing to say about other inhabitants of our shared planet. We would always find faults with ourselves for only then we can strive to improve, even if it proves to be too difficult. Certainly sticking our nose into other people’s knickers is not one of our habits.

    Save this world not our job! We are neck deep ourselves. But, commerce, we are most enthusiastic for. These are nice knickers indeed. I have in possession 1,000 different styles here to satisfy your most basic and exciting carnal needs. Drop a call, and we can do business, just like Lady Baroness T. said.

    We have so many our own problems, if you know them yourself, your mind probably will explode. I sometimes wonder how the Messers like Mr. Hu and Wen can ever sleep; the jobs have to be a life expectancy killer bordering on self-assisted suicide, and so little pay, and not even a mistress or two. Being a world power will just be the last straw for the life of these gentlemen.

    If you see any Young & Restless (FengQing) like our proverbial Mr. Han, just please please please, ignore him. How does he know that no one ever falls off the train in China while speeding at 200 miles per hour, and how would he know may be some people prefer to sit on the roof of the train for a more splendid view, and indeed superior air to breathe in the scorching sun at a more leisurely pace.

    While their patriotism is admirable, it is not what most of us think in China. There really is nothing in the world that we want other than to get the next Bottle of White Wine (read expensive), my wife’s next Gucci bag (fake actually), any my kids next lessons (rote learned anyways), the next car, the next house, or the next mistress. To claim that China will lead this or that really is just a little bit over the top; that one really got my plum in my mouth wriggling. For such mundane matters, we prefer to delegate to Uncle Sam. Nice Uncle indeed, who spend the money, resources, and man-power to trouble shoot for all us in the world. It is a good bargain, especially we also get to collect a little interests, we are already getting used to it.

  • Steve K.

    Very interesting discussion!

    I’m still not ready to write the obituary for the West just yet but I do not disagree with many of Mr. Jacques’ comments, just the degree. I fully agree that the U.S. is completely and utterly unprepared for China’s ascent to the world stage. Furthermore, the U.S. has self-inflicted damage that eroded our case for leadership.

    Taking the long view, China was an important world power that went into deep decline due to failed leadership, both under imperial rule and under Mao. Under Mao and Maoist policies, China moved significantly and destructively backward. China descended into great misfortune and irrelevance. Deng’s market-based reforms started China back on the path toward future success and toward rejoining the world’s family of nations. Granted, there is much, much work left to be done for the Chinese.

    The Chinese have a long historical tradition and a rich, interesting culture. Few in the U.S. seem to realize that the Chinese are to East Asia what the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks were to the West. I expect that modern China will also have many positive and negative influences on world culture, just as American culture.

    No doubt, China faces many simultaneous and significant challenges during their potential ascent, namely crushing rural poverty, great economic inequality, environmental catastrophe, official corruption (unlike here in the U.S., he says sarcastically) human rights, nationalism, some latent militarism, and regional disputes. I pray that their path to prosperity is peaceful and that they can avoid internal violence.

    Economically, China is borrowing the successful economic development paths of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. There is legitimate criticism about China’s current lack of innovation. However, spend a few weeks in China and you will see that there is no lack of innovation, motivation, or creativity in the Chinese people. You will also see a strong drive for success.

    Politically, I would expect China’s cities to develop along the Singaporean model–namely benevolent dictatorial rule.

    I worry that China’s development may suffer similar consequences as Japan. In the 1980s, the U.S. feared economic domination by Japan. Certainly, it proved a catastrophic time for some U.S. industries, namely automobiles and consumer electronics. However, Japan’s economic dominance disappeared along with its bubble economy. There are indications of bubbles building in the Chinese economy as well.

    Personally, I hope that the U.S. and China deepen their cooperation. My biggest fear is that we treat the Chinese as a threat and an enemy, which, in my opinion, would become self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Michela

    I just spent two weeks traveling through China from Beijing to Macau then our final leg of our trip was Hong Kong. It was an eye opening experience, and many of the salient points expressed by Marin Jacques were somewhat evident as we moved from city to city. Their is a sense of consumerism and productivity that is missing here in the US. Despite the cities we visited being densely populated their was a since of functionalism. For example, the subway system in Hong Kong and Beijing was one of the most efficiently run system that I have ever experienced. The sense of hegemony throughout the country and with the people we encountered showed a strong sense of pride of ones culture. Where as we seek to implore the exotic notion of “the other.” thanks goodness we took the time to at least learn some Mandarin in order to move around Beijing.

  • Audrey

    I recently visited China for 2 weeks on a personal trip and since returning home, have expressed interest in seeking employment there, particularly since the China’s rapid growth and development are in sharp contrast to the situation I encounter here in Michigan. However, I have frequently found that when I mention my interest in relocating to China in conversation with other Americans, they are either completely confused or interpret this as “fighting words”, as though I am somehow denigrating the United States.

  • asdf

    Huyu — great comment — but real or satire?

  • Greg K

    China is only part of the problem, the middle nationalistic way of looking at a problem. There are three parts of the worldwide problem and talking about China vs the USA is just looking at things from a nationalistic perspective.

    There are three main issues in the world as far as powers. This topic only covers one of them. The world economy is like a huge snowman of sorts. At the top of the snowman, the elites, bankers, illuminati, international corporations, and pseudo-state sponsored corporations, like the CIA/IMF, etc run their circle and world. These also to some extent include multinational corporations, some of which have power as great as nations and greater than smaller ones. Their motives are profit, control and wealth. These are often thought of as conspiracies and conspiracies do exist. The super-rich and money speculators are among them. Then we have the second middle level of the snowman, which is primarily national governments which are in largely operating on national border competition and for their own governments, this would include federal and state governments. These attempt to be internationalists, but are actually often operating at least politically as national entities. These may have things like “national banks” or nationalization or even grab resources for the federal government or country they are in. These compete with each other.

    Then we have the lower level of the snowman which is the people and workers themselves. Everyone wants to organize, control and exploit these, to make a profit and keep the larger organizations growing. The entire system of these three feed each other and have wealth which is money/energy/resources but financially it’s money flowing between the three and like a huge network of veins supplying life to our snowman.

    The biggest problem however is not mentioned and censored for the most part from most stories and that is limited resources and population growth, which is tied to peak oil concepts actually. Everything in the modern world” which had vast energy consumption is based on liquid slave horsepower or some other fossil fuel. THe USA consumed 25 % of the worlds energy, with 5% of the population. We each consume 100 human horsepower. The world and green revolution/renewable energy cannot sustain such high power lifestyles.

    What we’ve experienced in the world in the last few years is a combination of greed and a drive to create a middle class in China to convert them to democracy. It was a risk and political payoff made to China by Clinton. The Repubicans and Democrats both betrayed our national standing in allowing foriegn trade, for short term profits. This allowed China to grow and the Republican dream was to give them a middle class. This middle class would consume more and become a trading partner and we of course would rise higher and become “rich” as we sell to them. The problem is resources and limited geology of the earth. The Chinese want to each have a car. It would take six earths worth of oil to meet the fuel needs for a middle class in China with 1 car per person. It’s not going to happen. So as we lose economically by political choice to allow a rise in China and use their emerging slave power for trinkets in Walmart, our entire economy starts to collapse. The financial bubble and other problems like oil prices eating away all wealth in July 2008 helped push us over the edge. Many elites became rich as the banks ripped each other off selling derivitives, based on a dream world future we’re we’d all be richer and the Chinese would become like us.

    The problem is the world doesn’t work that way, we are resource constrained and burned through the easy resources. We are depleting the back side of the bell curve for most raw materials and resources now. And with increased demand from population explosions. We have given our factories to China and India for cheap labor and profit. The victor in a war gets the factories, then your houses by it’s troops and finally your taxes and money as tribute. We’ve gone through all those stages at a slower pace.

    We gave them our factories and have been doing this. They bought Fannie Mae securities and were nervious when our financial problems started happening. (Because we lost our jobs, to Chinese and other Asian factories.) Then Bush said, the T-Bills would be backed by Fannie Mae securities, which the Chinese liked, but feared would lose value. So Bush stated, we’ll pay back the T-Bills with taxes on the American taxpayer. First you lose you’re factories, then your houses then your tribute. That’s what’s happened. We lost WWIII economically because we gave it to them.

    Now the Chinese don’t have to invade, they can just foreclose. When American people are in trouble, the government bails out the banks, instead of the homeowners. Why? Because our government isn’t ruled by statesmen, but by politicians, that are bought off. These don’t view or value you’re rights as a citizen, but you’re value is in being a consumer. You exist to consume trinkets and resources, to make the elite richer.

    There are 900 million vehicles on the road in the world. As we allow (through international trade) more cars on the road in Asia, the Asians can ride fewer bikes and scooters and more cars. As we give them cars, the oil resources cannot support more vehicles, so we have to sell more scooters over here and more bikes, walking, etc. We have to trade off our vehicles because of a resource depletion scenario. And China cannot rise very far, because the global resource constraint affects them as well.

    As countries realize this, they will be forced to try to keep the status quo going, and that means resource wars. All paths lead toward energy stores that are left.

    The world operates like a pyramid. And energy resource pyramid of sorts. Kind of like a food pyramid. Cheap energy which is raw slaves from fossil fuels allow wealth and modern life. Above coal sits base electricity. Above natural gas sits the heat to produce cement. Above coal sits energy to create steel and rebar. Above oil sits the ability to transport most items. Above natural gas sits nitrogen fertilizers for the green revolution that feeds the world, even the third world. Above oil sits pesticides and plastics. That’s 85% of the energy we consume in the USA and also for the most part in the world. It comes from fossil fuels.

    Obama wants to get rid of carbon burning and his goal was to reduce our CO2 output by 85% by 2050. We burn 84% of BTU from fossil fuels. To be carbon neutral is to reduce our energy consumption and wealth by 85%. That may save the world from global warming, but I doubt it. It will assuredly provide 60 to 85% less wealth or GDP for the USA. So we will not be able to pay our bills, because we’ll have no industry. This is the global nature of a limited world.

    The world may have enough resources to feed perhaps 1 billion people with organic techniques. How do we feed everyone else? We feed them with energy from fuels that are harvested in the earth, fossil fuels. In the USA we consume 1 calorie of food, but burn 10 calories of energy to eat one. That is not sustainable. The modern world is not sustainable.

    We hear “Green talk” it’s nice and good, but all the embedded energy for the green technology comes for the most part from fossil fuels. There is no energy source that can replace these except nuclear breeder reactors and we’d need 750 in the USA alone to replace the 85% fossil fuels we’d lose to go carbon neutral. Unfortunately there are only 350 reactors in the entire world and they aren’t breeders, but mostly fission reactors that create waste fuel we cannot reuse. So we have 100 years worth of uranium energy left. If we went to breeders we’d have enough energy to last thousands of years, but breeders are dangerous and produce plutonium. The only breeders being constructed in the news we hear about are the ones we want to bomb, in Korea and Iran. Ironically the only reactor technology that can save the world (in theory, but not in reality) are looked down on because they are tied to weapons programs.

    We are in for a rough century ahead. Green technology provides 1/100th the BTU horsepower of fossil fuels. PR campaigns we see and hear from the governments about wind and solar power are mostly smoke. They don’t add up from a scale and payback perspective.

    People will focus on the enemy of one of the three parts of the snowman. Either the elitists, who may want to control the world with finances or the governments, communists vs. capitalists, one country against the other, or low level against the government, rebelling against the government. What we will see is a massive collapse which is either a foregone reality based on resources or a conspiracy of elites hoping to bring in electronic tagging and control. In both cases the every day man working at the bottom is screwed. This isn’t a solvable equation.

    But then again from an energy point of view, the high tech energy wasters have always dominated the low tech slave cultures for years. The high tech nationalistic forces will dominate green near the earth living people who don’t waste energy or use it. Think about it, camel herders in the Middle East didn’t use oil at all, but Western powers with technology needed that fuel to drive their technology, hummers and create steel and bullets to dominate. But that is all coming to an end. When that happens, the mass of humanity will start fighting over reduced resources and scape goats will be paraded out as always happens. It just means more resource wars and reduced return. The four horseman are starting to get in their saddles.

  • ageofaaquarius

    I’m not on either side, China or US. Ideally I hope this world can co-exist in harmony, no one is dominating anyone. But to listen to some of the comments here including the host, which only confirms one thing that most of the world knows very little about China and the Chinese people, good, bad and in between.

    Martin Jacques nailed it that it’s not the economy he is stressing, it’s the root of Chinese value may have bigger influence on the world in future. So many American people still stay in the mode of cold world, maybe that’s the only thing they really know about China — the U.S. enemy.

    It also surprised me that many people are suffering from “short term memory loss”, they are so forgiving for what their own countries have done to their own people and other parts of the worlds just century ago.

    A fact — China fell under Communist regime because Russia was the only country will help them in WWII. It was almost a trade off.

  • ageofaaquarius


    Cold war not cold world. Sorry.

  • Kris

    Greg K. (Jan. 11, 10:23 p.m.). Please see my post (Jan. 11, 11:08 A.M.) to see how much I agree with you. Thanks so much for the extra details and specialized info!

    A note on another small part of America’s folly: More and more of the Big Box stores are selling produce and food. People think there is advantage in that because the prices are supposedly lower. How much money will we save when we have to drive five extra miles away from home, encountering Strip Mall Road traffic, with idling engines, just to pay a few pennies less for bread? When our teenagers need jobs, they will NEED a car to get to the same Strip Mall to find a job, because there will be fewer and fewer “downtowns”, within walking distance of home and school, with any business activity. How much less will that bread cost us when we have to own an additional car for the teenager and pay for his/her gasoline and, of course, car insurance payments. What will happen to our elderly, long-term disabled, and short-term disabled individuals when the cost and/or inconvenience of going that distance to the Strip Mall makes marketing for food basics almost impossible? I mentioned paying for gasoline…of course that sometimes means engaging in foreign wars to guarantee that we have a source of gasoline!

    Big corporations are making major decisions about how our lives operate, and they LURE us with supposedly “low prices”. I live within a block of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. I would prefer to still be able to buy fresh fish from the Bay in my local fish market, supporting my local economy (within the bounds of environmental considerations) rather than waiting in traffic, only to park in the frigid New England winters or sweltering New England summers in a gigantic parking lot, so that I can save a few pennies on shrimp brought in from Viet Nam (not to mention also picking up, in one-stop shopping, some toys from China perhaps painted with cadmium colors, this time?)!

    HOW do we get off this roller coaster?! How much of it is brought on by too many “bright, but senseless ideas” from American business schools? Not all invention is good; some of it is just FOLLY….and a ticket to a failed economy and society. Once again, I believe that we need campaign finance reform and financial regulation, at the very least, to help us get truly representative government acting on our FULL behalf.

  • http://www.tajikpress.com Khalek Bahador

    thanks tom ,it was a great conversation with martin jacques. the guest mentioned numerous facts that it was ignored by most U.S-chines relation experts ,one of those facts was the the long history of civilization of china and its contribution to rise of its economy as one of largest exporter . regardless of fading the communism after collapse of soviet union the communist party of chines still in the power and adopt new system . i hope we keep in mind the importance of history which is a main factor for survival .

  • http://www.chinavation.blogspot.com Cory M. Grenier

    Here is a Jan 8, 2010 NPR segment that asks,
    “As China’s Stature Grows, Is It Superpower Or Not?”

  • curious steve

    the chinese people share the cultural instinct and its philosophical foundation with the french and the inspired left all around the world. what is known as “french structuralism,” best articulated by the french philosopher louis althusser, provides the critique of, and the the alternative to, the individualism/capitalism that characterizes the modern western civilization. never heard of althusser? for good reasons.

  • ageofaaquarius

    On another note, some people don’t seem to understand that the process of becoming a Communism regime is part of a process of democracy and revolution (without an official election), put aside how this system was executed later by human. But we all have to agree that majority of people in one country at the time supported the idea of Communism, which were supported by poor people like peasants whose populations dominated that country, that’s revolution.

    Like today’s U.S. extreme capitalism has brought so many middle class down to lower middle class, if there’s no revolution, but there’s some kind of philosophical movements going on right now in this country. This is a process of self-correction, it will be experimented and practiced by using our knowledge of leaned lessons from our history, the rest will run its own course.

    With that being said, like anything else, the first generation of any system is at raw stage with lots of drawbacks, they will evolve overtime. Nothing was created out of pure evil, but without balance, any system is bad.

    I found labeling ourselves with a name of a system is very troubling and tunnel vision. Our mind become trapped by our own label.

  • mitch hampton

    This discussion seems to be divided between, on the one hand, those that assume harmony and cooperation i.e. going to China to absorb their culture, teach English, and actually be employed there, or potentially worse, to find cheap labor to exploit there, is to be in the vanguard of globalism and multiculturalism. On the other hand, and I am NOT in this camp either, are those who are nationalistic and patriotic about the U.S. in an uncritical way and regard China as the enemy. My point is simple. China is not an enemy per se but it still remains a vicious dictatorship. By being cozy with them we have not helped to change their ways, and have been complicit in helping that system. That ethical fact needs to be confronted without the smokescreen of values pluralism and cultural diversity. Mao Tse Tung, who was certainly no good guy in the long scope of history, did say a couple of correct things. One of them is to always remember that the people of a country are not the same as their government. My only hope is that one day the Chinese people really challenge and overthrow that regime and resurrect the spirit of the democracy movement. Markets, capitalist measures and entrepreneurial spirit are insufficient. Indeed there is a long history of developing countries that combine democratic measures in the marketplace with the most tyrannical and anti-democratic measures in the rest of life.

  • ageofaaquarius

    ****Mao Tse Tung, who was certainly no good guy in the long scope of history, did say a couple of correct things. One of them is to always remember that the people of a country are not the same as their government. My only hope is that one day the Chinese people really challenge and overthrow that regime and resurrect the spirit of the democracy movement. Markets, capitalist measures and entrepreneurial spirit are insufficient****

    I understand you mean well and have good intention, but that’s not enough.

    Do you represent the Chinese people living in China? Do you read and write Chinese? Do you read Chinese or other news sources except from U.S. and major European countries? Do you speak to people from neighbor countries of China?

    Talk is cheap when one “hopes” one day Chinese people challenge and “overthrow” their government when one is not a day to day Chinese people resides in China when one bears no responsibility when this really happens. China has gone through revolutions before and after WWII. It hurt dramatically on everyone in China, heart braking stories that you never heard of within families, No matter what system China is going by, Confucius and Taoism is deeply rooted in Chinese way of thinking, which most Chinese believe filling up their stomach is first priority, then they have the luxury to think politics. Make no mistake that the leaders of China are naive about what their people are thinking.

    As a fact, China is implementing and practicing democracy from down to up right now the minute I am writing this. They are educating kids the concept of democracy and voting. What’s brilliant about this program is they encourage kids to run for class leader, and parents can help too. During the process, kids and parents demonstrate “bribery” “cheating” “lying” and “honest” to try to get elected. They conduct open discussions why they like or dislike the candidates, and who they project to vote for.

    It’s easy to “stereotype” Chinese government and her people when one have slight idea what’s going on in their grass roots programs and intents. When one bears no responsibility with consequence, one is considered an instigator without much weight in words.

  • ageofaaquarius

    Not to mention living in this so called “free & democratic” country, I feel I was robbed and cheated by our politicians and our system in broad daylight. I can find so much equation from nation to nation.

  • Kris

    I can’t believe it!!! I posted (Jan. 12, 1:18 p.m., above) a comment, including this last sentence: “so that I can save a few pennies on shrimp brought in from Viet Nam (not to mention also picking up, in one-stop shopping, some toys from China perhaps painted with cadmium colors, this time?)!”

    I was taking a wild leap into the future when I said that I thought that Chinese exporters would use cadmium on our toys next!

    THEN, what headline did I see in my daily newspaper later that VERY day? “China swaps toxic metal CADMIUM for lead”!!! Winds up we are now importing children’s jewelry with high levels of cadmium. Major Big Box stores, at the very least, have had to pull these items from their shelves.

    I still blame OUR government, and I still believe we will be ruled by a coalition of our OWN economic oligarchs, the public service unions and our elected officials (who represent the corporations who paid for their election) UNTIL we get new campaign finance laws and major financial regulation.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

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Aug 20, 2014
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This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

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Lara Russo, left, Cally Guasti, center, and Reese Werkhoven sit on a couch in their apartment in New Paltz, N.Y. on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  While their roommate story of $40,800 found in a couch made the news, other, weirder stories of unusual roommates are far more common. (AP)

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Police wait to advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

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