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Understanding The Rise of China: Martin Jacques (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Martin Jacques’ talk titled “Understanding The Rise of China” at TEDSalon London 2010 conference.

Listen to the audio version here:

TRANSCRIPT:

The Rise of China

The world is changing with really remarkable speed. If you look at the chart at the top here, you’ll see that in 2025, these Goldman Sachs projections suggest that the Chinese economy will be almost the same size as the American economy. And if you look at the chart for 2050, it’s projected that the Chinese economy will be twice the size of the American economy, and the Indian economy will be almost the same size as the American economy.

And we should bear in mind here that these projections were drawn up before the Western financial crisis. A couple of weeks ago, I was looking at the latest projection by BNP Paribas for when China will have a larger economy than the United States. Goldman Sachs projected 2027. The post-crisis projection is 2020. That’s just a decade away.

China is going to change the world in two fundamental respects. First of all, it’s a huge developing country with a population of 1.3 billion people, which has been growing for over 30 years at around 10 percent a year. And within a decade, it will have the largest economy in the world.

Never before in the modern era has the largest economy in the world been that of a developing country, rather than a developed country. Secondly, for the first time in the modern era, the dominant country in the world — which I think is what China will become — will be not from the West and from very, very different civilizational roots.

The Illusion of Westernization

Now, I know it’s a widespread assumption in the West that as countries modernize, they also westernize. This is an illusion. It’s an assumption that modernity is a product simply of competition, markets and technology. It is not. It is also shaped equally by history and culture.

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