Monday, April 5, 2010

Venice & China

It was at this time of rapid industrialization that Venice became the victim of its earlier extraordinary success. Its victories at sea, its conquest of the Terraferma, its command over the northern Italian balance of power combined in enabling it to absorb the effects of the ongoing world contraction without having to reorganize and restructure its governmental and business institutions. - Giovanni Arrighi
Reading this made me think of China, which sails on, apparently the exemplar for a new age. It also made me wonder if Taiwan won't emerge in the end as the seed bank of the more robust form of government China will need - the only one, really, in all of Greater China, now that Hong Kong has been co-opted by its parent (despite heroic rear-guard efforts by its democrats). Singapore is what China looks toward, a corporatist state. It may work for a city, but can it work for China? M. Braudel (Arrighi's source) has his doubts. (The quote is from The Long Twentieth Century, Verso 2010, page 186.)

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