Chinese Civilization in the 21st Century

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Andrew Targowski
Western Michigan University, MI, USA
President Emeritus of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations (2009-2013)

Bernard Han
Western Michigan University, MI, USA

Series: Contemporary Cultural Studies
BISAC: HIS008000

The authors of this book believe that the 5,000 year-long-history of Chinese Civilization is the main factor in the re-emergence of China in the 21st century. It is a well-known fact that the Chinese economy became the second largest economy in the world in 2014. With some predictions, in the near future perhaps China will surpass the United States. The main media interprets this progress as the result of a Western Civilization strategy, which forced manufacturing to be outsourced to China and made it become the World Factory. Certainly, outsourcing was the trigger and an important factor at the end of the 20th century. However, today, China and its diaspora (Chinese Civilization) are decisively moving from the “robot” of the West to a master in economy and politics.

This book, primarily focused on analyzing Chinese accomplishments nowadays, is not confined only to the economic dimension; it also takes into account the legacy and practice of the Chinese, i.e., its society, culture, religion, and infrastructure – the main components of any civilization. China had 24 dynasties and elaborated administrative systems (run by Mandarins) that contributed to the Chinese receptive subordination to political power. The Mandarins’ management of knowledge, wisdom, and skills were supported by Confucianism – an ethical and philosophical system based on the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Also, family is most important to the Chinese. There is a special relationship within the family-based complex system that is hinged on Chinese kinships and clans.

Technology – the Four Great Inventions, i.e., the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing, were among the most important technological creations by Chinese. They were known in Europe by the end of the Middle Ages, which was 1000 years later than their existence. The Chinese junks (ships) were better than Portuguese caravels in the 15th century, which discovered America and went around Africa to China. Therefore it is not surprising that today the fastest computer was built in China and now the country has the largest network of high-speed railroads.

This book maintains that China should not follow proposed recommendations by advisors from the Western Civilization since they might remake China a la America. Their recommendations usually mimic Americanism. Today Americanism is not doing very well even in America. China has the chance to develop its own political system that may be adequate for the current state of the worlds’ civilization’s affairs. Perhaps it can be a system that eventually will be accepted by other countries elsewhere. This new emerging political system may be called “sustainable market socialism and people power with Chinese character,” and it may lead to Sustainable China for Ever (SCE). Its Seven Principles are defined in this book. Of course, this system may not be ideal. But, have we found any political system ideal to date? The weakness of SCE is its inability in removing corruption and cronyism. On the other hand, the political system based on the turbo-capitalism, without human face and lobbyist-driven democracy, has the same shortcomings (e.g., corruption, cronyism) that are almost incurable nowadays. The choice, then, is the lesser of the two evils between these two political systems. Eventually, we will approach the famous question — is it better to live better but shorter, or longer but worse? (Imprint: Nova)

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Andrew Targowski and Bernard Han

Part I. Civilizing Society

Chapter 1. The Civilization Index and Chinese Civilization
Andrew Targowski (Western Michigan University, USA)

Chapter 2. Spatio-Temporal Boundaries of Chinese Civilization
Harry Rhodes and Lynn Rhodes (The ISCSC-Californian Chapter)

Part II. Civilizing Culture

Chapter 3. Old Faith for the New Millennium: Religions and the Chinese Civilization in the 21st Century
Patrick Fuliang Shan (Grand Valley University, MI, USA)

Chapter 4. Chinese Civilization and Contemporary Pop Culture in the 21st Century
Shan Li (Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)

Part III. Civilizing Infrastructure

Chapter 5. Chinese Civilization and the State of Infrastructure in the 21st Century
Guo Yang (Northeast Forestry University, Harbin, China)

Chapter 6. Is China on the Wrong Path of the U.S. Agricultural Development in the 21st Century?
Agnieszka Couderq (Orange Alternative, Poland)

Part IV. Globalizing Chinese Civilization

Chapter 7. The Myths and Realities of the Clash of Western and Chinese Civilizations in the 21st Century
Andrew Targowski (Western Michigan University, MI, USA)

Chapter 8. The Chinese Civilization: Driving Forces, Implications and Challenges in the 21st Century
Bernard Han (Western Michigan University, MI, USA)

Chapter 9. Chinese Civilization versus Global Civilization in the 21st Century
Andrew Targowski (Western Michigan University, MI, USA)

Chapter 10. Where Is China Heading?
Andrew Targowski (Western Michigan University, MI, USA)

Index

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