The China Boom

Why China Will Not Rule the World

Ho-fung Hung

Columbia University Press

The China Boom

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Pub Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9780231164191

264 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $25.00£21.00

Pub Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780231164184

264 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£30.00

Pub Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780231540223

264 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£30.00

The China Boom

Why China Will Not Rule the World

Ho-fung Hung

Columbia University Press

Many thought China's rise would fundamentally remake the global order. Yet, much like other developing nations, the Chinese state now finds itself in a status quo characterized by free trade and American domination. Through a cutting-edge historical, sociological, and political analysis, Ho-fung Hung details the competing interests and economic realities that temper the dream of Chinese supremacy—forces that are stymieing growth throughout the global South.

Hung focuses on four common misconceptions: that China could undermine orthodoxy by offering an alternative model of growth; that China is radically altering power relations between the East and the West; that China is capable of diminishing the global power of the United States; and that the Chinese economy would restore the world's wealth after the 2008 financial crisis. His work reveals how much China depends on the existing order and how the interests of the Chinese elites maintain these ties. Through its perpetuation of the dollar standard and its addiction to U.S. Treasury bonds, China remains bound to the terms of its own prosperity, and its economic practices of exploiting debt bubbles are destined to fail. Hung ultimately warns of a postmiracle China that will grow increasingly assertive in attitude while remaining constrained in capability.

A very readable and informative book that will find a wide readership. Its great strength is that it shows on many different fronts that the notion of China's rising dominance may be unrealistic or, at least, premature.

Victor Shih, University of California, San Diego

Timely and important, Ho-fung Hung's accessible and clear-eyed assessment of China's prospects, rooted in both the longer patterns of China's own history and global economics, reaches unexpected and reassuring conclusions. A stimulating intellectual journey led by a calm and judicious guide.

Robert A. Kapp, former president of the U.S.-China Business Council

Ho-Fung Hung's important and stimulating work places China's recent economic reforms and development trajectory firmly within their proper historical context, thereby releasing them from triumphalist or defeatist narratives that begin in 1949 or 1978. The China of the past four decades, Hung shows us, is the same China that has wrestled with modernization since the early Qing Dynasty and has faced the same problems many times before.

Michael Pettis, Peking University

Ho-fung Hung's brilliant analysis of the intertwining of China's national trajectory with the evolution of global capitalism adds new energy and insights to one of the most fundamental debates in contemporary political economy.

Peter Evans, University of California, Berkeley

[An] informative study.... [The China Boom] paints a convincing picture that China may not be the superpower many predicted it to be.

Publishers Weekly

This valuable treatise will appeal to both scholars and more casual readers with an interest in China.

Library Journal


Foreign Affairs

It is a fast-paced, highly readable, thoroughly provocative, and (rare for an academic book) truly enjoyable account of 400 years of Chinese economic history right up to the present day.

Asian Review of Books

So many books on China recycle the same stories and historical anecdotes, but this one tells the story from the point of view of economic history. It is scholarly yet readable, interesting throughout.

Marginal Revolution

The book should be mandatory reading for anyone concerned with transnational economic policy planning.

Pacific Affairs

an important and balanced scholarly book.

International Relations of the Asia Pacific

Ho-fung Hung offers us the clearest analysis we have of the historical origins of China's economic model and for its future prospects. Hung's work is political economy at its best.

Contemporary Sociology
List of Illustrations and Tables
Chronology of State Making and Capitalist Development in China, Sixteenth to Twenty-First Centuries
Introduction: Sinomania and Capitalism
Part I. Origins
1. A Market Without Capitalism, 1650–1850
2. Primitive Accumulation, 1850–1980
3. The Capitalist Boom, 1980–2008
Part II. Global Effects, Coming Demise
4. Rise of the Rest
5. A Post-American World?
6. Global Crisis
Conclusion: After the Boom
Web Features:

Honorable Mention - The Asia and Asian America Section Book Award: Transnational, from the Asia and Asian American Section of the American Sociological Association

About the Author

Ho-fung Hung is Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Associate Professor in Political Economy at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of the award-winning book Protest with Chinese Characteristics: Demonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty (Columbia, 2011).