Why China (might) never rule the world

Troy Parfitt is a Canadian writer I first got to know in Taipei through my wife; they taught at the same school for several years. I've read and enjoyed Troy's previous book, Notes from the Other China, although I understand that some of his observations in that book caused some minor controversy. His follow-up, Why China Will Never Rule The World, is coming out later this year, and in it he's going to attempt to present a thesis on why he doesn't think China is going to present nearly the economic threat to the West - or indeed the rest of the world - that many seem to believe. Given that I spent a couple of years in considerable proximity to China (although the closest I got to actually visiting the place consisted of nothing more than a couple of trips to Hong Kong), I find the whole debate quite fascinating.

Troy's put together a promotional video where he talks about the thinking behind the book. You might have to use the password 'china' to access it.

China from Tyler Ellis on Vimeo.

There's an excerpt from the book here. Another book worth reading on the subject of China is The Man Who Loved China, by Simon Winchester, a biography of Joseph Needham.


Orin Thomas said...


(with a capital C)


Anonymous said...

It's interesting. I've got a copy of the Art of War kicking around somewhere. There are two additional essays in my copy written by the author. One is Mao Tse Tung's Art of War (very interesting) and the other is about why China and not Russia was a major threat to China.

This is fascinating because the essays were written at the height of the Cold War. The author successfully predicted the fall of USSR, balkanisation in Europe and (if I remember right) how China would appear to grow economically strong.

Whether China WILL grow strong is matter for the future.

I'll have to watch your friend's video later when I am not at work.

RFYork said...

Thanks Gary,

It is a fascinating view of China. I intend to read the book.

Though my knowledge of China is limited, I think he may overstate the effects that the deep cultural differences between China and the West will have.

He hits the nail on the head when he talks about the mythologizing of modern China by western commentators like Thomas Friedman.

Much the same can be said about India. We hear much about Mumbai and New Delhi. We hear little about the grinding rural poverty in both countries.

In response to "antihippy": China will grow stronger, in every sense of the word, for the next couple of decades. It will be interesting to see how - or even if - China wields its strength on the world stage.