William Rees-Mogg's prediction that the coming century will belong to Beijing does not go down well with China-watcher John Derbyshire:

"Look at the opening of Rees-Mogg's piece: "The 18th and 19th centuries were the British centuries, in which industrial, political and imperial development in Britain shaped the world. The 20th century was the American century; the United States changed the world, providing a margin of victory in two world wars, and developing all the major new technologies: telephones, automobiles, television, jet aircraft, the internet and so on."

"Britain... America... notice anything? The great successes of these two nations rest(ed) in the Anglo-Saxon political traditions of personal autonomy, freedom under law, representative legislatures, and limited government. China has no such traditions: has, in fact, all the OPPOSITE traditions. I see no sign that this is changing. Rather the contrary: as China becomes richer and more confident, the ancient norms are re-asserting themselves. Spend a couple of hours in a room full of Chinese decision-makers. Then read the Rees-Mogg piece again.

"100 years ago there were excellent grounds for arguing that the 20th century would be Germany's, or Russia's, or Japan's -- or even China's! Things didn't work out that way. Why? Politics. Before we arrive in Mr. Rees-Mogg's economistical utopia, there is still plenty of old-fashioned politics to be traveled through."
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/chinese-crystal-ball-william-rees.html|||1/03/2005 11:04:00 am|||||||||