The world has never been 'Americanized'

By Shen Dingli
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 27, 2013
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Xinhua News Agency called for the creation of a "de-Americanized world" in a recent article, which caught the attention of the U.S. media. And White House's response has also aroused many discussions on the Chinese language media.

There have always been controversies about whether the world has been "Americanized" and whether it is time to "de-Americanize" it. But I believe that this is not the case, so there should be no talk of "de-Americanizing." Consider that the Chinese population makes up 19 percent of the entire world. If the world has ever been or is being "Americanized," then China must have been part of the process.

The fact is that China has not been "Americanized." It is still led by the Chinese government and is moving towards socialism with Chinese characteristics. The U.S. currency is not used in China. Is the fact that China is adopting a market economy system an indication of "Americanization?" The market economy has nothing to do with ideology, nor with the United States. It is a universal economic principle in human society.

This logic can be used to test whether most countries in the world have been "Americanized." The U.S. itself doesn't necessarily form a pattern to clearly define what "Americanization" is. America is a diverse country. Some open-minded forces advocate the grass roots path; others are against reform. Hard-liners want an imperialist hegemony while liberals insist on international cooperation. As a large immigrant nation, the U.S. has not solved its internal differences, so it has not been fully "Americanized" itself.

The historic truth is, after WWII, the GDP of the U.S. rose above 50 percent of the global share, as did its gold reserves. It had huge military forces. America was able to stabilize the world, which fitted its own interests and was accepted by some other countries. The Bretton Woods Conference of July 1944 set up the World Bank, GATT and the IMF and post-war monetary arrangement, after which the U.S. dollar replaced gold as the medium of international exchange, but the precondition was that America had to send dollars to other countries, in other words, America should export gold to other countries and prosperity and stability to the world.

The acts of the United States created a win-win situation. The U.S. gave out before it took back more. As the world had not found a better system to replace it, some countries accepted it. However, the Soviet Union, China and other socialist countries under the anti-imperialist and anti-colonist banner, competed against the capitalist countries led by the U.S. Therefore, the world was not "Americanized," even in that era.

Since reforming and opening up, China has introduced some effective tools to achieve modernization, such as the leaders' tenure system and the market economy. It accomplished outstanding results. But if you look closely, there was also an abdication system and market economy in ancient China. China's opening up and reform is not an indication of "Americanization," but a continuation of tradition. China has just adopted some international norms.

As China and other new powers grow and rise as part of globalization, the world has moved further away from "Americanization." In fact, America's prime position in the world is also in gradual decline. "De-Americanization", in a relative sense, has been going on for decades.

In a sense, when the U.S. dollar became the international reserve currency, the United States was actually "globalized." The U.S. does not have enough gold to sustain the endless demands for dollars from the growing world. Countries with planned economies have priority when competing with the U.S. by manipulating currency exchange rates; the special status of the U.S. dollar prompted globalization, and the U.S. is not the biggest winner of globalization.

The world has never been "Americanized," and is not being "Americanized," therefore there is no need for talk of "de-Americanization." Human activities are interlinked and societies need greater cooperation. Every country has its own interests, but the international community needs to advocate cooperation to extend the common interests of mankind, and satisfy the unique and reasonable individual interests of each country. As new economic powers rise, society has changed completely. Not just America. No one country can assimilate other countries.

The author is a columnist with For more information please visit:

This article was first published in Chinese and translated by Zhang Rui.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of

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