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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Second, win-win cooperation is not limited to member countries of an international community. It also includes win-win cooperation between the international community or its members and the countries not belonging to it, and even that between humankind and nature.

Third, cooperation does not contradict competition, as long as the latter can promote cooperation, i.e. cooperation-oriented competition. In the classical modernization theory, competition prevails. Even though there exists cooperation, it is aimed at competition.

Fourth, win-win results can be achieved on the premise that the partners therein are allowed to win first. It's usually considered to be unrealistic and difficult to achieve win-win results, since all the cooperative sides wish to be the first to harvest the benefit. Therefore, initiators of cooperation and partners therein with more resource input must let other partners win first. Only in this way can all cooperative sides finally achieve win-win results.

Fifth, win-win cooperation needs corresponding cultural support. The world's modernization process originating from Europe is largely a history of competition, which is closely related to the culture of individual rationalism in Western society. Today, we emphasize that win-win cooperation is the core principle of collaborative modernization, which needs to be based on the culture of relationship rationalism. Eastern culture, especially the Chinese culture, will make greater contribution in this regard.

Strategic focus: ecology, population and international cooperation

The classical modernization theory focuses on economy and politics, involves society and culture, and doesn't take ecology, population or international cooperation into consideration at all; the dependency theory and world system theory emphasize economy and international exchanges, and seldom consider other fields; the ecological modernization theory highlights ecology and economy; the sustainable development theory focuses on economy, society and ecology.

Determined by its goals and the attributes of its player, the strategic focus of collaborative modernization includes the ecological environment, population factors and international cooperation. Here, it does not ignore economic, political, social and cultural factors, but takes them as contents of international cooperation.

Modernization in the field of ecological environment requires inheritance and development of the ecological modernization theory on the one hand. We should effectively implement the strategy of sustainable development and take collaborative modernization as the specific path to carry out the strategy. On the other hand, we should strengthen international cooperation in ecological environment protection. Although much progress and some achievements have been made, they are far from reaching the desired goal.

Population factors and modernization: in the comparison between the modernization of Western Europe and East Asia, Professor Luo Rongqu argues they differ in time sequence of population growth and the beginning of modernization, that is, modernization started before high population growth in Western European countries while the contrary was the case in East Asian countries. Mr. Kang Rongping has pointed out (2006) that population base is an important factor to determine the pattern of modernization or which path is to be chosen. From the point of the world's modernization process, when this started in Western European countries in the 18th century, each country had tens of millions of people; when modernization started in countries including the United States, Japan and China in the 19th century, each had hundreds of millions of people; when China and India came to modernize in the late 20th century, both had more than one billion people. The classical modernization theory applies to countries with hundreds of millions of people, but is completely unsuitable for those with more than one billion. The modernization pattern of Europe and America promoted by the classical modernization theory depends on a large consumption of non-renewable resources. For example, the United States accounts for six percent of the world's population, but consumes a third of global resources. To follow this route is impractical for developing countries with huge populations individually or collectively - they cannot follow the old pattern of modernization adopted by Europe and America, but must open up a new road.

With international cooperation as the major means, collaborative modernization has different guiding principles from traditional modernization. First, international economic cooperation: countries seek common development and prosperity and drive the international economic order towards a fairer and more reasonable direction, rather than caring only for their own development without regard to others, or even sacrificing the interests of others. Second, international political cooperation: countries have mutual respect for their political systems and jointly cope with global issues. They don't impose their own political ideas and systems on others or shirk responsibility when dealing with global issues. Third, international social cooperation: International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) play a positive role in promoting the formation and development of global civil society and building a harmonious society around the world. Countries are not allowed to interfere in others' internal affairs or overthrow other governments through INGO activities. Fourth, international cultural cooperation: Countries show respect for cultural diversity and promote exchanges and mutual learning among various civilizations. Countries are not allowed to emphasize the superiority of their own culture and belittle or even destroy other civilizations.

In conclusion, by "collaborative modernization," we mean the modernization promoted by international communities of different types and levels. These communities, composed of several countries, aim to realize the common interests of humankind at various levels. With win-win cooperation as the core principle, collaborative modernization gives full consideration to factors of population and ecological environment and seeks sustainable development of human society through international cooperation.

Essence of the B&R Initiative: "Collaborative Modernization"

Through analysis of the official documents about the B&R Initiative, we find two core keywords: "common" and "modernization;" through logical analysis of modernization theories, we propose a new concept: "collaborative modernization." According to the official documents about the B&R Initiative and the main ideas and contents of "collaborative modernization," we believe the essence of the B&R Initiative is "collaborative modernization." It can at least be illustrated from the following five aspects:

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