The China Boom Summary

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The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World, by Ho-fung Hung. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. Ho-fung Hung’s work attempts to reconcile the widespread expectation that China’s rise would lead to a fundamental change in the global status quo with the observed fact that China has become increasingly connected to and one with the global status quo. To do this, he must first examine China’s rise and prove that it upholds the global status quo, and further must look into the origins of China’s rise, going back to the 13th century, to understand why this rise seemingly changed so little about the global world order. Hung’s stated goals are as follows. First, he aims to outline the historical origins of the capitalist boom in China as well as the conditions which predicated said boom. He also names four conceptions against history to explore the global effects of China’s capitalist boom and the limit of that boom. Firstly, he seeks to challenge the notion that China is challenging the United States neoliberal order. Secondly, he examines the belief that the increasing incomes of poor Chinese citizens helps to reverse worldwide income polarization. Thirdly, he analyzes the claim that China’s rise is challenging Western dominion over the world, and is radically altering the world order. Lastly, he plans to evaluate the assertion that China has been emerging as the most powerful driver of growth since the global financial crisis. He plans to devote a single chapter to the refutation of each of these views and explanations of why they overstate the importance of China, in addition to several introductory chapters describing China’s rise. He aims to prove with this work that China is no different than the other major capitalist powers, that its boom is dependent on the global neoliberal order, that its boom contributes to rampant inequality, and, in sum, that China is just a foundation of the capitalist status quo. Hung’s first foray into the history behind China’s rise centers on the massive influx of American silver into 17th and 18th century China and how it fueled a commercial revolution. He talks about the revisionist image of pre-capitalist China as simply agrarian, and states that this
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