Will the 21st be the Chinese century? I seriously doubt it.
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.