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Publisher's Summary

According to even the most conservative estimates, China will overtake the United States as the world's largest economy by 2027 and will ascend to the position of world economic leader by 2050. But the full repercussions of China's ascendancy - for itself and the rest of the globe - have been surprisingly little explained or understood.

In this far-reaching and original investigation, Martin Jacques offers provocative answers to some of the most pressing questions about China's growing place on the world stage. Martin Jacques reveals, by elaborating on three historical truths, how China will seek to shape the world in its own image. The Chinese have a rich and long history as a civilization-state. Under the tributary system, outlying states paid tribute to the Middle Kingdom. Ninety-four percent of the population still believes they are one race - "Han Chinese." The strong sense of superiority rooted in China's history promises to resurface in 21st century China and in the process strengthen and further unify the country.

A culturally self-confident Asian giant with a billion-plus population, China will likely resist globalization as we know it. This exceptionalism will have powerful ramifications for the rest of the world and the United States in particular. As China is already emerging as the new center of the East Asian economy, the mantle of economic and, therefore, cultural relevance will in our lifetimes begin to pass from Manhattan and Paris to cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It is the American relationship with and attitude toward China, Jacques argues, that will determine whether the 21st century will be relatively peaceful or fraught with tension, instability, and danger.

When China Rules the World is the first book to fully conceive of and explain the upheaval that China's ascendance will cause and the realigned global power structure it will create.

©2009 Martin Jacques (P)2009 Gildan Media Corp

What the critics say

"A convincing economic, political and cultural analysis of waning Western dominance and the rise of China and a new paradigm of modernity. Jacques takes the pulse of the nation poised to become, by virtue of its scale and staggering rate of growth, the biggest market in the world...As comprehensive as it is compelling, this brilliant audiobook is crucial listening for anyone interested in understanding where the we are and where we are going." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about When China Rules the World

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Eye Opening

Though now a bit dated (written at the beginning of Obama's first term), this book is well researched and offers important context on the future of global markets.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • David Blake
  • 2010-01-04

Lucid explanation of global economic trends

Jacques' book's lucid prose and textbook explanations of global economic trends is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the rise of East Asia. Jacques focuses on China as he analyzes the rise of East Asia and the competing modernities of the 21st century.

Scott Peterson's narration is sped up and edited, which compresses the content for a faster listen. I enjoyed this. What I did not enjoy, however, is that Peterson made ZERO EFFORT to PRONOUNCE CHINESE, making most words unrecognizable. It would have taken Peterson maybe an extra hour of work to learn the fundamentals of pronunciation as Simon Vance did for his narration of Lost on Planet China. Peteron's lazy, ambiguous pronunciation will be extremely frustrating for anyone with even a cursory knowledge of China.

5 stars for solid content. 2 stars for sub-par narration and lazy pronunciation.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris Reich
  • 2011-04-27

Excellent, Even Handed

I doubt I could be as even handed as this book. It really made me stop to consider the inevitability of China's rise to the top and how our acceptance of this or not will well determine our fate as Americans. Falling to second is never pleasant but it will happen and sooner than we think.

Will it be a soft landing or hard fall? Depends on whether can accept what is going to happen with grace.

Painful but very, very well expressed. I highly recommend this book.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 01011000
  • 2010-03-02

Its gets better

This book is way too long and would have benefited greatly from the eye of an editor. First, they could have removed all references to the word "inconceivable" which would have reduced the length of the book by a good 10%. Removing duplicate sentences could have reduced it by a further 35%. Elimiating the inane anecdotes would have cut a further 15%. It would still have been a bit a long winded.

However for those willing to sit through the 16.5 hours, it is quite illuminating and in the 2nd half, things do start to come together in a compelling way.

12 people found this helpful

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  • DEXTER C. PHILLIP
  • 2017-04-17

Find another narrator, please!

The narrators, voice, accent, rhythm, and miss pronunciations of words was quite irritating. I often wanted to turn them off or switch to another narrator. The book was well written and had a lot of great information theories history etc. I enjoyed the
book but not the narration.

5 people found this helpful

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  • jertry faustinos
  • 2022-01-17

Thorough and thought provoking

It was intriguing to learn about the political, economic and cultural processes involved in the development of China and of the changing status in the world compared to that of the USA. It amazes me the extent to which China has become the largest producer of goods consumed in our country and the extent to which they depend on us to buy their products. Their investment in our nation in money, students, real estate, tourism et al in my opinion will help promote a strong mutually beneficial relationship that can overcome political differences and efforts by some American zealots who see China mainly as a threat to our security. With the Russians we maintained peace with the threat of mutual destruction until the collapse of the USSR. With China, I think our economic inter-dependency provides a more durable cement for peaceful coexistence. We both have more to lose than to gain in pursuing military solutions to resolve our many differences. Our Nation is still young and although sputtering politically, is not going anywhere and I am confident, will regain her footing. This is important because the nation civilization of China and the rest of the world will need to work in better harmony to overcome the severe challenges resulting from everyone’s industrialization.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Godfree Roberts
  • 2016-11-19

Comprehensive and Gracefully Written

Martin Jacques manages to make a scholarly work not just readable but thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommended as an introduction to modern China.

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  • Fkrauss
  • 2012-09-25

Great Audiobook

Great audiobook! It tells in every aspect one can imagine how the global geopolitc power is shifting from the west to the east, specially to China and how that affects the western way of life.

It is a required book to understand the current situation of the planet and many major discussions like climate, technology, entrepreneurship and specially, Democracy

1 person found this helpful

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  • Les
  • 2010-01-19

Disappointing

This is an interesting topic, but the story is not told in an interesting or lively way. The author uses a lot of dubious statistics such as the GDP of China and India in the 18th and 19th century. These are both hard to take seriously and dull. Also, the cultural analysis about China, the US and Japan sound cliched and uninteresting.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Isiah Rodriguez
  • 2022-05-01

Learn a lot about China history

Thought he did a very job of explaining the history of China and the reasons why they could and wouldn’t become the the ruler of the world .

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  • Page-Turner
  • 2022-03-19

Good book marred by poor audio performance

In print form, When China Rules the World is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the civilizational fundamentals of China. Martin Jacques surveys centuries of world history and broadly analyzes China's economic take-off to offer a primer for the educated layperson, and he does this in a way that respects China on its own terms. The audiobook version, not at all. Inexpicably, the producers of this version failed to ensure that the narrator, Scott Peterson, could pronounce Chinese names in even a ballpark way. I don't mind if a Euro-American can't speak the tones central to the Chinese language, but when "Qing" is pronounced "King" this shows a serious lack of effort. The result is not useful, and represents a missed opportunity to extend Mr. Jacques admirable work in audiobook form. Listen to this excellent book, but check other sources for how to pronounce the names of Chinese cities, historical figures, concepts, etc. When China rules the world, maybe this excellent book will find a competent narrator.