Long Cycles

Image result for map world china

Our Silk Roads class wrapped up by considering George Modelski’s long cycles, which identifies a “global leader” (this was before the intense interest in the word “global’).

Even when the world system was multiploar or bipolar, there was always one prominent power, not only with military reach but also with the economic “active zone” and leading industries.

China will probably never outmatch the US military (who knows what the grander design is), but it is patiently waiting on the sidelines – as the US implodes politically. The headlines coming out of the US are really leaving people scratching there heads in Asia. I’ve talked to random people in airports yesterday and today, because I’m back in Manila.

Personally, I think the only real chance China has of becoming the preeminent world power, in the game as it is currently played, is economic and technological, by delivering something new: the Next Big Thing.

Personally, I don’t think biotech is the next leading industry, as this is really just an extension of the digital revolution. The next big thing will be to transform the world’s many megacities into super-modern, tightly knit slices of urban paradise, as is projected by Manila’s City of Pear Project. This combines physical and technological infrastructures.

Ideally, AI and other high-tech stuff would be used to help humanity rather than embed it more firmly into a matrix, but that is another question yet to be answered.

In terms of actually reconstructing, say, the developing world’s largest 50 cities, China is the only country that could pull this off. China poured more concrete in a 3-year period than the US did in the 20th century. China has an economy of scale in this industry that does not exist in the West. And leaving aside Wall Street derivatives, China already has the world’s largest “real” economy.

The American political system is busy cannibalizing itself, generating a media feeding frenzy, and distracting citizen-subjects from larger questions. Nothing big is being contemplated. No more Panama Canals, for example, just walls that do not really solve the problem, and that will not even be built as boasted.

American politics is capable of sucking, into the whirlpool, its economy and society. Will China and the rest of the world throw it a life-line? Or watch it drown and count the bubbles?