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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Niall Ferguson: Why is the West imitating Beijing?

The utopians in the USA and the UK might see globalization as a project for linking the nations to facilitate a free movement of goods, services, technologies, and people. But to the Chinese, globalization is simply a tool for becoming a global superpower. In his article, “The China model: why is the West imitating Beijing?” historian Niall Ferguson quotes from a paper by a Chinese intellectual who says that globalization is a political weapon that will free the world from American and British control and deliver it to China. Here’s an excerpt from Ferguson’s article: 

“In a revealing essay published last year, the Chinese political theorist Jiang Shi-gong, a professor at Peking University Law School, spelled out the corollary of American decline. ‘The history of humanity is surely the history of competition for imperial hegemony,’ Jiang wrote, ‘which has gradually propelled the form of empires from their original local nature toward the current tendency toward global empires, and finally toward a single world empire.’ The globalization of our time, according to Jiang, is the ‘“single world empire” 1.0, the model of world empire established by England and the United States’. But that Anglo-American empire is ‘unraveling’ internally, because of ‘three great unsolvable problems: the ever-increasing inequality created by the liberal economy…ineffective governance caused by political liberalism, and decadence and nihilism created by cultural liberalism’. Moreover, the western empire is under external attack from ‘Russian resistance and Chinese competition’. This is not a bid to create an alternative Eurasian empire, but ‘a struggle to become the heart of the world empire’.”

Ferguson notes: "If you doubt that China is seeking to take over empire 1.0, the Anglo-American liberal version, and turn it into empire 2.0, based on an explicitly illiberal model, then you are not paying attention to all the ways this strategy is being executed."

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