As the world rapidly shifts from an economic one to a highly political one, competition will no longer be about who wins more but about who loses less. In the shift from a win-win to a zero-sum game, China is torn as it strives to get closer to the developed world yet seeks to maintain a distance from the third world and Russia. In navigating these troubled waters, three critical developments — relations with Russia, Taiwan, and decoupling from the West — may alter the fate of China. This is the last in a series of four articles contemplating a changing world order.
In a changed world post-pandemic and against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, Asia will face pressure from competing minilateral coalitions amid the breakdown of multilateralism and the weakening global and regional institutions. This time, it may not be so easy not to take sides, says Professor C. Raja Mohan. This is the second in a series of four articles contemplating a changing world order.
Economics professor Zhang Rui identifies the main crises faced by global economies today, their various effects, and how they are interrelated. How will governments handle these challenges and work together to ease the impact of what seems to be a perfect storm of negative factors?
Chinese academic Sun Peisong notes that renowned financier George Soros has always been critical of China’s social system. While "the man who broke the Bank of England" has a keen eye for finance, Sun feels that Soros’s criticism of China’s “closed society” sheds light on his penchant for globalisation and dated means of making the wealthy wealthier.
Domestic and external pressures compel China to face the issue of democracy. With growing affluence and diversity in the population, the government needs to find a way to incorporate various views that goes beyond the Mao-era “mass line”. In forging a new path, the Chinese Communist Party is feeling its way around bringing about a socialist neo-democracy, or what has been verbalised as “whole-process people’s democracy”. But what stands in the way of putting thought into action?
American youths today are dealing with more issues and turmoil than their previous generations. US academic Wu Guo believes that the culmination of terrorist attacks, financial crises, social injustice and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have led to a generation that is more politically, socially and environmentally aware. These challenges and experiences could be a path for Americans to connect with the world outside of the US, in particular with China.
Amid fears of an increasing dependence on China being played up with regards to foreign investment for Indonesia's new capital in East Kalimantan, one must first ask if Indonesia offers an attractive enough proposition for Chinese (and other) investors, says Indonesian researcher Siwage Dharma Negara.
Despite past macroeconomic stability, the US economy is beginning to see increased inflation across many sectors. Reports say that US consumer price figures for January due on Thursday could show core inflation rising to the fastest pace since 1982 at 5.9%. The situation is not helped by the government's recent move to issue additional debt which was mostly purchased by Fed banks. If the US government defaults on its debt, the global financial market will be affected. Higher interest rates to fight inflation in the US may also require that China and other Asian economies adjust their own domestic policies on interest rates and exchange rates.
While some businessmen have good intentions in offering goods and services at lower prices, they could also be “spoiling the market” and making it harder for others to make a living. Such actions may invite backlash, whether in village scuffles, or writ large, protests and anti-dumping measures between countries. China, the world’s factory, has borne the brunt of such pushback. Industries in other countries are affected, as capital moves freely between borders but labour stays in place. Those who feel they are losing out may hold grudges and end up dealing a big blow to society.