The Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century

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Little, Brown, 2007 - China - 431 pages

The prevailing view of China is of an economic juggernaut set to make the 21st century its own. This provocative and stimulating book warns instead that China is running up against a set of daunting challenges from within that could well derail its rise and, in turn, deliver a crippling shock to the global economy. Britain, Europe and the US must recognise that they have a vital stake in assuring that collapse does not happen.

China's effect on our lives is reflected in our house prices, the inequality in our wages and the prices we pay in our shops. Yet China is burdened by a weak enterprise system, growing social protest and environmental degradation. Hutton shows how the contradictions of an authoritarian state are fundamentally disabling and argues that if China is to complete the transition to capitalism upon which it has embarked, it has no choice but to embrace the mechanisms that make business and government accountable to people - from a free press to representative governance. This is a powerful warning that global peace and prosperity depend upon successful transition.

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About the author (2007)

Will Hutton is principal of Hertford College, Oxford and columnist for the OBSERVER, where he was editor, then editor-in-chief for four years. He began his career in journalism as economics correspondent for the BBC's NEWSNIGHT and for the GUARDIAN.

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