I use this paraphrasing of Deng’s famous innovation for Hong Kong, to focus on the emerging two systems of the world. One can be characterised by the system emanating from 500 years of European history, and the other from economic developments of the emerging world, particularly China, over the last 60 years. The former drawn from 2500-3000 years of civilisation, the latter from 5000 years of history. Both feature, at different stages, significant contributions to the worlds of science, technology and social and civil progress.
The Western form has encountered severe headwinds since the 70’s when it started experimenting with finance in charge. The Eastern system has progressed enormously at the same time by staying focused on industry, agriculture, and services with finance being a support role.
Both claim to be about growth to produce social justice and towards prosperity but it is the Eastern system that is delivering most. The Western system is stuck post 2008.
As the Western system seems divided and unable to agree on a global way forward for the next 100 years, it is the Eastern system that is leading with BRI and an African Industrial Revolution. Neither Eastern nor Western is fixed and the balance may change again.
As a businessman my senses are from what I see and hear. Figures are important but not the starting point.
The military power of the USA, and the technological leadership of Western MNC’s, ensure that the West is still in the lead but those two features are fast being negated by the growing emergence of Cyber and Space to add to the traditional Army, Navy and Air Force. The leadership of Western MNC’s is being challenged by new corporate forms from the East, building on local markets and focused on innovation. Capitalist market economy in the West and a regulated market economy in the East. Similar but also quite different.
Is a clash of the two worlds an inevitable outcome? Certainly not. While it appears the Soviet Union may not have folded into ash, so much as altered into a leaner Russia, it is certainly the case that the nuclear and military stand off from 1945 to 1990 evaporated.
It is back and there. The threat of men playing with powerful weapons remains while they fight over areas of influence, there is an increasing sense of excessive power and mutual destructiveness in the event of any conflict.
There is a historical comparison between the emergence of General Kelly taking charge in Washington with General Haig taking charge as Nixon fell in 1973. But that was battered USA military back then. This must be a confused USA military wondering if the last 15 years was worth it. Or it sees a new axis of evil? I cannot see how the USA could envisage conflict with Russia, China and Iran without huge collateral damage.
The Eastern system seems more open to Western penetration than the other way round. The recent protectionism of the US Democrats, highlighted by the rebuilding of G7, and the attempts to build exclusive trade bodies such as TTIP, and TPP, seem to be passing. BRI seems to be increasingly the main agent of world growth and it succeeds best, so its authors say, if it has global investment.
The USA is the focus of assessing the Western system and China the Eastern system , although their influence is partial.
The article below expresses where China is looking- still to 2021 and then to 2049.
Understanding the Chinese agenda is helped by reading this article which is typically full of broad phrases. But they are Chinese policy.
It is, in my opinion, a speech worth reading two or three times and the working out what the parts we do not comprehend mean.
For corporates global strategies are in the melting pot. The economists, politicians and academics are behind the game.
Let us hope the USA traditional leaders can get a grip on their wild players. Because for now the East is much clearer. And their door is open.