This article on the future of China as a superpower intrigued me, mostly for asking the question of what kind of superpower China could be. As I analyzed it, I ultimately figured power has to be cultural on one level or another – simply using force of any form is limited and limiting, as well as exhausting and compromising. So my rough figuring was China will have more power the more it is able to exert positive cultural influence.
Then I began thinking about the world. Where US films are exported everywhere. Where anime is a giant cultural export for Japan. Where India has taken the musical to amazing heights. Where Gangnam style has raised awareness of Korean music, and probably K-pop as a whole.
The US was also good at leveraging export technologies and economic and political power post WWII. Anime would not have been nearly as popular in the US without fansubs, streaming, and cheaper delivery technology. India’s media popularity has gone slow-burn, but seems to be helped by things like Netflix and hip cultural awareness like the Colbert Show. Gangnam style wouldn’t even be KNOWN without Youtube.
Cultural power is something that China will want and need – and that means media and communications technologies, shows and comics, a real media/world presence.
So that makes me wonder what’s next for China. Will it try to build a culture engine for commercial, economic, and cultural power? Will one evolve or be allowed to evolve? Is it even being thought of?
What will their geeks and geekonomy be like if they seek superpower status and cultural influence in the world?
I’m not sure I have answers. OK I’m pretty sure I don’t, but it’s going to be interesting to see the Chinese geekonomy and how it works – and evolves – and connects it to the world. You have to open up to have influence . . .
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/.