China and the Global Future: The Case for Optimism

It has become almost an article of faith that China’s rise is destined to produce confrontation, it not outright conflict, with the west. But there is hope amidst the gloom. China’s transition to an innovation- and services-driven economy will require fundamental institutional and political reforms which are likely to produce greater convergence with those of the west. At the same time, global public goods like climate change mitigation and disease prevention remain powerful impetuses for multilateral cooperation, and the development of new technologies like autonomous weapons and gene editing call for a new phase of norm-creation to rival, if not exceed, that which produced the Geneva Conventions and other fundamental elements of the international order. This talk will lay out an optimistic scenario for China’s role in the world, and explore how it might be given the greatest chance of coming to pass.