The Writing on the Wall: Why We Must Embrace China as a Partner or Face It as an Enemy

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Overview

The prevailing view of China is that the country is an economic juggernaut sure to become the dominant power of the twenty-first century. In this provocative and stimulating book, critically acclaimed author Will Hutton warns instead that China is running up against a set of daunting challenges from within its own political and economic system that could well derail its rise, leading to a massive shock to the global economy. The United States, he argues, must recognize that it has a vital stake in working to ...

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The Writing on the Wall: Why We Must Embrace China as a Partner or Face It as an Enemy

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Overview

The prevailing view of China is that the country is an economic juggernaut sure to become the dominant power of the twenty-first century. In this provocative and stimulating book, critically acclaimed author Will Hutton warns instead that China is running up against a set of daunting challenges from within its own political and economic system that could well derail its rise, leading to a massive shock to the global economy. The United States, he argues, must recognize that it has a vital stake in working to assure this doesn’t happen, for if China’s political liberalization and economic growth collapse, the United States will suffer crippling consequences.

In today’s highly globalized world economy, so much of the economic health of the United States—our low inflation, high profits, and cheap credit—rests upon China’s economic growth and its massive investment in the United States. A great deal has been said about the economic and military threat China poses. But rather than provoking China with the military hawkishness of recent years and resisting Chinese economic supremacy with the saber rattling of protectionist antitrade policies—twenty such bills have been introduced in Congress in just the last year—the United States must build a strong relationship that will foster China’s transition from an antiquated Communist state beset with profound problems to a fully modern, enlightened, and open society. Doing so will require understanding and engagement, not enmity and suspicion.

China’s current economic model, Hutton explains, is unsustainable, premised as it is on the myriad contradictions and dysfunctions of an authoritarian state attempting to control an economy in its transition to capitalism. If the twenty-first century is to be the China century, the Chinese will have to embrace the features of modern Western nations that have spurred the political stability and economic power of the United States and Europe: the rule of law, an independent judiciary, freedom of the press, and authentic representative government that is accountable to the people. Whether or not China does so rests in large part on how well the United States manages the relationship and persuades the Chinese of the virtues of an open, enlightened democratic system. The danger is that fearmongering will intensify animosities, leading both countries down a path of peril.

Turning conventional wisdom on its head, this brilliantly argued book is vital reading at a crucial juncture in world affairs.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A middling effort at reconciling the interests of the Middle Kingdom and Middle America. China and the U.S. regard each other with distrust and suspicion. Granted, China is a communist police state and the U.S. is a capitalistic behemoth; yet, writes British journalist Hutton (A Declaration of Interdependence, 2003, etc.), the countries benefit each other, with China responsible for having bettered the American standard of living through cheaper prices and the U.S. responsible for having provided China with its larger export window onto the outside world. Hutton notably argues that fewer American (and European) jobs have been lost to China than has been reported; of more importance, he stresses, is "the massive redistribution of income from the bottom 99 percent to the top 1 percent," which impoverishes Western workers. The point Hutton makes is a useful one, but he also engages in wishful thinking by urging China to embrace Enlightenment values that have long "endowed western societies with the idea of the public realm" and of other democratic virtues, presumably through a European "model of capitalism that is more attractive than the American." A multiparty system of government may be a desideratum for a better world, but it seems unlikely, as Hutton acknowledges, that the ever more conservative Central Committee will allow such a development willingly. Although the author hopes for cooperation and free trade, it seems more likely that the West and China will nurse political and economic rivalries for some time to come, given that Enlightenment values seem to be ever scarcer in many Western quarters, too. Hutton's exhortations seem best addressed to isolationists in both countries-anaudience unlikely to be moved by them. For a more nuanced view, see James Kynge's China Shakes the World (2006).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743275293
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 1/5/2013
  • Edition description: Simon & Schuster
  • Pages: 432

Meet the Author

Will Hutton is the former editor of the London Observer, economics editor of The Guardian, and a BBC economics correspondent, as well as a governor of the London School of Economics. He is currently chief executive of The Work Foundation. He is the author of six previous books, including the critically acclaimed The Revolution That Never Was and The World We're In, which was a number-one business bestseller in the United Kingdom.

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Customer Reviews

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( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    BOOK CONTEST!!!!

    AT inky ALL RESULTS!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    Piper

    Hey guys I strted a contest. Its at 'writing fever' all results. Have fun!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    Rippleshadow

    Yes...do u like mine. And i have a second story in the third rrsuly

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    CRYSTALFROST TO ALL

    I'm hosting a writing contest at writing rocks first 3 results. Rules result one. Stories result 2. Questions/comments result 3. See you there!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Jaysoar

    I am having a writing contest at 'write right now' results 1-3. -Jaysoar

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Bluejay

    Same rules as last time apply...
    NO cursing, bad launguage, etc.
    And PLEASE put your name inside the review box...

    NO ASSIGNMENT THIS TIME, so good luck!!
    ~ Bluejay

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Glimmerpaw should b it

    Becuz she survived for two months until her clan came back

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Seedstar to gothclaw

    Gothclaw if u want u can join mossclan! Join at moss descriptions and read the post from seedstar on result 2!!!! I vote..........(sry gothclaw) OWLFEATHER

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Fawnfire to gothclaw

    *dips her head* thats terrible but a great story

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