China and Western Supremacy

Oct 2010
56
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11721671

I found this article very interesting. It is suggesting that if China does regain its place as the biggest economy worldwide, it is simply regaining its Historical Position.

This leads me to one question - has the last 2 centuries of Western Supremacy actually a blip??

Many people, including myself, are guilty of blatent Orientalism - ignorant of the significance of the World outside of the West. Many British people, for instance, are looking back to the 19th Century and asking why we cannot be great. However, in China, they are going back to where they historically belong - except this time it has more global ramifications.

So essentially, Historically, the Western dominance that grew out of the colonies, slavery and international trade has only helped us keep power over the East for a small amount of time. China is merely catching up?
 

Lucius

Forum Staff
Jan 2007
16,363
Nebraska
Liberal democracy and capitalism unleash those forces of creative destruction which create the future. China's got the capitalism thing going on now, but for the other - not so much.
 

DreamWeaver

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
10,445
Wales
brings to mind something I once heard. China has been on top for the last 18 of the 20 centuries. Perhaps the last couple have been blips. Interesting to ponder.
 
Sep 2006
1,453
Korea (but I'm American!)
I cannot even answer this question in a single posting. I am not an orientalist.

"China's Reign of Supremacy"?
China never existed in a global world. It existed for thousands of years in East Asia. It never spread far to the West because of the Deserts and Mountains that make up 2/3 of China's present territory. Observe that most of China's population is in the Eastern 1/3 of the country. You'll notice by looking at all the maps of the different dynasties, this is the area that has basically been China
China has been a regional hegemony in East Asia at times but much of its history has been one of a fractured and disunified land. China's two biggest problems have always been keeping itself in one piece and dealing with its own population.

21st Century
The Equation in not only East Asia but in the world has completely changed for China much as it had for Europe.
China was often a regional hegemony in Eastern Asia but it never really extended its influence anywhere else throughout its history. That would be why after thousands of years, the sinosphere is basically China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.
China often dealt with neighbors who were weaker, smaller or less unified. Vietnam, Korea, Tibet, the Xiongnu, Mongolians. Before 200 years ago it never had to deal with anyone else.
Now China's world is bigger than East Asia. And it has countries that are stronger or relatively equal to itself. The USA didn't exist until 230 years ago and the significance of its appearance in the world is often underrated. Japan is and has been for quite a while, stronger than China. China now has to deal with the fact that it can be challenged, even when it is strong. It's neighbors are not alone and isolated like in the past.

China will not dominate the world and neither will Europe. The Western Hemisphere is where it is at and will continue to be. East Asia and Europe will be giant retirement homes. The only difference between the two is that Europe will be a wealthy retirement home and China will be a poor one.
 

Jake10

Ad Honoris
Oct 2010
11,960
Canada
I tend to agree with Dr. Realism on this. China has been great in the past and wants to be so again, but the number of short cuts taken will come back to haunt the nation. The pollution, illegal dumping and dodgy practices in Chinese industry are creating illness in the population and leading to corrupt practices that work against the country.

People in China have a preference for male children and, to cope with the one child policy, many families found ways of not having girls. Now, there are approximately 40 million men too many in a nation that is not taking in very many immigrant females. These men are becoming more and more frustrated, leading to common habits among single men of gambling, drinking, fighting and seeking prostitution. We all know that an invading army of 500 000 can cause chaos in a country; it would not take much for a couple of million of those Chinese men to create social anarchy.
China is also not making allies in the world as it grows, choosing instead to dominate other nations with economic pressure. All this, along with the number of natural disasters China has to face will not allow it to rise to the top.
 
Nov 2010
122
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
It's true that China was a great empire in the past, and also that its decline came precisely because of its isolation from the rest of the world, but taking this into account, it seems that China's new imperial dreams are motivated by the capitalist economy that spurs its new power, so talking about a new Eastern supremacy isn't accurate, since in fact the Chinese methods come from the Old Europe. This leads to the conclusion that, one way or another, the Western powers are dominant in the world, even ideologically.
 
Oct 2010
289
Paomia, Corsica
There are definitely some weird constant in world history. The demographic balance between China, India and the West is one of them. There were blips but over most of the recorded history you had something along the lines of China = 1, India = .5, the West =.5. So indeed we seem to get back to the trend in term of West/China ratio. But at the same time India is off the usual trend (and so is Africa) so I'd be careful. Lets just say it is a weird and unexplained return to the mean.

That being said I do not believe there are any 'rightful' place where China would belong in terms of economic might. Certainly the best example of that is Japan. Based on what Japan had been before the mid 19th century, the archipelago should be populous and urbanized (which it is) and above all a total commercial backwater (which it is not). And I don't see Japan going back to a status of negligible quantity on the world seen.

On the other hand, look at regions like Central Asia, the Middle East or the Mediterranean, they hosted for a very long time the most advanced civilizations in the world. And yet, can any one even hear them on the world stage.

Add to that the fact that today's China looks nothing like what it used to be under the Mings, the Songs and Hans, and you'll see that China's new-found wealth can be explained by a host of things but certainly not by its long history!
 
Sep 2009
1,260
I tend to agree with Dr. Realism on this. China has been great in the past and wants to be so again, but the number of short cuts taken will come back to haunt the nation. The pollution, illegal dumping and dodgy practices in Chinese industry are creating illness in the population and leading to corrupt practices that work against the country.

People in China have a preference for male children and, to cope with the one child policy, many families found ways of not having girls. Now, there are approximately 40 million men too many in a nation that is not taking in very many immigrant females. These men are becoming more and more frustrated, leading to common habits among single men of gambling, drinking, fighting and seeking prostitution. We all know that an invading army of 500 000 can cause chaos in a country; it would not take much for a couple of million of those Chinese men to create social anarchy.
China is also not making allies in the world as it grows, choosing instead to dominate other nations with economic pressure. All this, along with the number of natural disasters China has to face will not allow it to rise to the top.
A process that every other developing countries went through is somehow special in China... how? every issue you described was true when I was younger in Taiwan, so is Taiwan now ****ed? every issue was pretty much true over the 50s-70s for Japan / Hong Kong / South Korea and god knows how many other developing country?

You DO realize that stages like that happened in the USA and England as well RIGHT? maybe these people / work / pictures are familiar to you?




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how is china today suppose to be different? is China suppose to be held at a higher standard that it's suppose to jump right through the developing stage without any of the negative consequences that was pretty much shared by EVERYONE while they were in a similar stage?
 

Jake10

Ad Honoris
Oct 2010
11,960
Canada
The difference is, Rollingwave, in terms of industry China is doing it on a much larger scale. In terms of preference for male children, they adopted the one child policy. Other nations had and some still have preference for male children, but they did not find ways of not having female children on the scale that China has. Also, they are not trying to balance their male to female ration with immigration.

In any event, though, we're not discussing the ethics of this. We're analyzing whether or not China will be the strongest power in the world again. Based on the points shown in this thread, I don't think it will happen in the near future.