Is China’s rise inevitable?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013  Media Alerts

Martin Jacques, one of the world's leading China specialists answered this question with a resounding 'yes' at a special lecture at UNSW on August 26. Presented by the Australian School of Business at UNSW and Asialink, Martin Jacques, international bestselling author of "When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of A New Global Order" discussed the state of the Chinese economy and the central differences between China and the West.

The general consensus in the West assumes that the high rates of growth China has enjoyed over the last 30 years will not last. Martin Jacques says that in fact this current period of growth is not the aberration but the norm in China's history which has seen it enjoy consistent growth, excluding the 100 years following the opium wars, often referred to as 'the century of humiliation'.

Jacques predicts that China's rate of growth will continue at 7-8% before remaining steady at around 5%. He says that China's economy with overtake that of the United States in 2018 - a figure once viewed as optimistic but now agreed upon by most economists.

China has an impressive footprint on global trade and Jacques highlighted that China is soon to become the biggest importer in the world and is currently the largest manufacturer in the world, having already overtaken production in the United States.

Jacques also shared with the audience deep insights into Chinese society and culture which he says are crucial for the West to understand if it is to fully engage with China and its economy.

Unlike the West, China does not primarily think of itself as a nation state but instead as a civilisation state, the product of its 2000 year history. Its model of the state is very different to that of democratic government in the West: In China, the state occupies the role of unifier and protector similar to the role of the father in the patriarchal family structure. Chinese government is however a meritocracy, dating back to Confucius and as a result, Chinese government is extremely efficient and competent - a central part of the country's growth.

Get the full China insights from Martin Jacques' lecture by listening to the podcast