Collaborative Modernization
-- The Essence of “the Belt and Road Initiative”

By Ke Yinbin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 28, 2015
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It logically follows that modernization, which is international-regime-oriented and aims at all-round development, is called "collaborative modernization." It has the following basic features:

Goal orientation: for the common interests of humankind

Professor Cai Tuo has pointed out that, "in the world today, no matter which state or nation is involved, they cannot get rid of the influence or constraints of global issues. Any state or nation that disregards the common interests of humankind in global issues will not only do harm to itself, but also bring disaster to the whole human race." That is to say, there exist common interests of humankind and they are involved in global issues. Hence, common interests of humankind are manifestations of global interests. In the colonial era, the world powers sought to promote their own national interests rather than seeking benefits for all. Even worse, they tended to realize their own national interests at the sacrifice of those related to other countries. In the industrial civilization era, countries pursued a modernization process that only served national interests. The dependency theory and world system theory have made an in-depth and thorough analysis on this aspect.

In order to realize the common interests of humankind, collaborative modernization must adhere to the concept and principle of sustainable development. Countries participating in collaborative modernization must consider it as a specific way to implement the strategy of sustainable development. Why does the UN-advocated sustainable development strategy make little progress? The lack of specific ways might be a reason.

In order to realize the common interests of humankind, countries carrying out modernization can neither place the interests of enterprises/organizations above national interests, nor put national interests above global interests. They need to pursue consistency in national and global interests, and enterprises/organizationsvis-a-vis national interests. They should try to realize their own national interests through contributions to the interests of enterprises/organizations, and achieve global interests through a contribution of national interests.

Players: international community

Who will promote collaborative modernization? Certainly not the nation state, but rather an international community comprising volunteering nation states; not the international regime itself, but an international community formed by nation states among which international regimes come into being.

We know that the formation of nation states was a major step in the history of humankind. Nation states have made great contributions to the progress of human society; however, as the players of modernization, they naturally put their own national interests first, sometimes even at the sacrifice of the interests of other countries. In the world today, there exist a number of global issues created in part by nation-state-oriented modernization pattern. What's more, facing such global issues, it's difficult for nation states to put forward effective solutions. A good example is the sustainable development theory proposed and advocated by the United Nations and other international organizations.

The settlement of global issues and the realization of the common interests of humankind objectively demand the player should be an international community rather than any specific nation state. The so-called international community refers to one created by volunteering nation states that consider they share common interests and one possessing an extensive and in-depth cooperation mechanism. An international community first comes into being among those countries with common interests. Driven by common interests, they carry out extensive and in-depth cooperation and further form a community of interests. Then, during the process of realizing their common interests, they build a community of responsibilities. Finally, based on the community of interests and responsibilities, a community of shared future comes into being.

Nation states are the prerequisite of the traditional modernization pattern. However, they cannot effectively create an international community without carrying out international cooperation forcommon development and prosperity. Actually, an international community and its collaborative modernization reinforce and promote each other. The formation of an international community sees the participation of an increasing number of member countries, an extended scope and a higher degree of cooperation, and manifestations of achievements in cooperation, which are also the results of collaborative modernization. The formation, development and upgrading of an international community depend on the width and depth of collaborative modernization; its effective promotion also depends on the level and potential for building an international community.

Core principle: win-win cooperation

Cooperation means each partner offers resources and cooperates to work on something or finish some task together. Win-win results indicate that the partners can benefit corresponding to their resource input and efforts. The prerequisite of win-win results is achieving the anticipated benefits through cooperation; the essence of win-win results is the equality rule, that is, the partners benefit corresponding to what resources and efforts they contribute.

Cooperation is the basis of win-win results, while the latter is not necessarily the result of the first. Win-win cooperation is sustainable cooperation. It is cooperation in the real sense. Cooperation featuring a single winner or an imbalance in gains is "exploitation" in the name of "cooperation." It is classical opportunistic/utilitarian behavior.

As the core principle of collaborative modernization, win-win cooperation has the following main contents:

First, in order to realize the common interests of humankind, the players of modernization must carry out win-win cooperation.

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