Munk Debate Does the 21st Century Belong to China? Kissinger versus Ferguson

Is China’s rise unstoppable? Powered by the human capital of 1.34 billion citizens, the latest technological advances, and a comparatively efficient system of state-directed capitalism, China seems poised to become the global super power in the coming century. But the Middle Kingdom also faces a series of challenges. From energy scarcity to environmental degradation to political unrest to growing global security burdens, a host of factors could derail China’s global ascent.

PRO – 21st century belongs to China

Niall Ferguson is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard and William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Ferguson is the author of numerous bestsellers including The Ascent of Money. His latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, will be released in Canada in November 2011.

“For the next 10 or 20 years it is going to be very hard to derail China’s economic locomotive.”

David Daokui Li is the Director of the Center for China in the World Economy at the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing

China’s economic emergence is showcasing a new model of economic growth and interaction between China and the rest of the world.”


Henry Alfred Kissinger was the 56th Secretary of State of the United States from 1973 to 1977. He is one of the world’s most influential commentators on geopolitics. Among his many accomplishments as a public servant Dr. Kissinger has been credited for normalizing relations between the United States and China at a crucial juncture in the history of both countries.

“They will have a huge demographic problem…so one shouldn’t project a straight line in which China emerges as totally dominant.”

Fareed Zakaria is host of CNN’s flagship international affairs program—Fareed Zakaria GPS, and the Editor-at-Large of TIME.

“China is entering a new era but seems ideologically and operationally ill prepared for it.”

Kissinger – Though rapidly gaining influence on the world stage, China will be far too preoccupied with “enormous problems internally” in the coming years to become a so-called superpower. “I believe the next decade will see China wrestling with the problem of how to bring its political institutions in line with its economic development,” he said Friday evening in a sold-out debate in Toronto.

Preliminary results posted on the Munk Debates website from an audience poll showed Kissinger and Zakaria won, with 62 per cent of those who turned in their ballots at the end of the night saying they supported the con side and 38 per cent siding with Ferguson and Li.

A similar poll before the debate put the audience of 2,700 at 40 per cent con, 39 per cent pro and 21 per cent undecided, suggesting Kissinger and Zakaria managed to sway nearly a quarter of the audience.

I believe that China has many challenges to overcome (inflation, social issues, political issues etc…)

In spite of moderating growth, I forecast China to pass the United States on an exchange rated basis in 2017 and then progressing to three times the size of the US economy by 2030

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