The rise of China in the wake of the slow relative decline of the United States has been the overarching narrative of global studies since the beginning of this century. Is this narrative correct? China’s growth is slowing as it reaches middle-income status and the United States is still overwhelmingly wealthier and more powerful than China. If China will someday “overtake” the United States, it will not happen for decades or centuries, depending what is meant by overtaking. But even this more guarded account of US decline is coloured by an outdated, state-centric view of human society. The twenty-first-century world…
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