The Great Recession of 2008 represented two decisive starting points: the beginning of the end for Western hegemony, and the rapid rise of China. Following the collapse of global markets, the US and the EU went into a state of apoplexy as the unintended results of free market capitalism crippled economies. China, in contrast, managed to weather and emerge from the economic crash relatively unscathed and, in comparison to other economies, thrived. Now the world’s second largest economy, China’s ascent as a global powerhouse shows no sign of ceasing any time soon.
How do we understand the unique and stratospheric rise of China we are witnessing today? Although a whole host of compelling and reasoned arguments can be put forward, I posit that China will continue to thrive unanswered for now, enabled by three important and interconnected factors.