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Does the map below strike you in any fashion as odd?
In Japan, this is the typical world map you would find in a standard school textbook. Compare this to:
Same earth, same projection, different center of focus.
In the news today I heard about how China has now emerged as the world’s leading exporter, having surpassed Germany. Similarly, its car market surpassed the US market at the same time. NPR did a similar story on it around Martin Jacques’s new book, “When China Rules The World” which re-aired just today. I can imagine how difficult it will be for the United States (and other Western ‘powers’) to realize it no longer can decide what the rest of the world can or cannot do. The mentality that the West is more civilized and more powerful has permeated the annals of history beginning with colonization of Africa and the expansion eastward with trade, along with wars here and there. True, China has a pitiful human rights record and all sorts of corruption, but can any country wipe their own hands clean and say they haven’t been guilty of the same?
One of the interesting things highlighted in the show was that the first area that the West will begin to lose its grip on global affairs is through finance, highlighting that the two western monetary institutions, the IMF and the World Bank, will no longer be relevant in the East once China’s economy overtakes that of the US, which Goldman Sachs predicts to be at or around 2027. Would it be possible to imagine a time when the United States dollar no longer holds any symbolic or even monetary value outside its borders?
I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with it, or that it should be averted at all cost. It’s another way of seeing the world, like the maps above. Who is to say that the maps we see are the right interpretations? Are we not looking at the same world, after all? Granted, with financial power comes political power (by the way, the United States currently owes China $227 billion) and for the abuses made by the West in the name of civilization, it’s up to our imagination to see what power China can wield over their former oppressors. They have the benefit of hindsight, fortunately, and we can only hope they’ll use it wisely.
The new dollar?