China has emerged in the last decades from a closed economy, to an open economy experiencing very high economic growth. Indeed, based on the date of the World Bank, since 1980, the gross domestic product of China grow of about 2500%, while on the same time, the American one only about 400%. This very fast economic growthallowed China to be today the second economic power after the United States and in front of Japan, with a GDP that is likely to be higher that five trillion dollar in 2010, according to the World Bank. It is also believed by many economist that at the current rate, chinese GDP will overtake the United States one around 2020 thus making China, the country with the highest GDP of the world. This isan exceptional performance indeed, and it has comprehensibly provoked numerous articles, academic paper and comments, at an international scale. Journalists, scholars, and sometimes politicians, all try to describe, explain, criticize or give advices on this phenomenon. One explanation fo this excitement is that the economy is only a little part of the discourses on China and the concerns are moreoriented about the future of China and the politics consequences of the economic growth.
Though, those discourses are biased and incomplete. The discourses quintescencally differ depending on where, how, and by whom they are produced and used. And that is the resutlt of the fact that the economic, political, social and cultural implications of Chinese economic growth does not affect all theregion of the world equally. And sometimes, these aspects lack to be taken into account in some economic discourses despite an increasing link that is made between the economic and the politics. Nevertheless, some essential cultural and social aspects and habits of China and the West are too often forgotten in the analysis of the economic growth of China.
For instance, the Chinese tend to have amore optimistic point of view of their country. But that does not have to be putted on the account of a sinple nationalism. While the West sees this economic growth more like a challenge to their erodate dominant position. And their analyses on the situation in China are at the contrary, less optimistic.
This paper will present a comparison between the economic discourses on China. To show thedifferences between western and Chinese perceptions on Chinese economic growth, and Chinese future challenges on one side. But also to point out some important omissions that exist in economic discourses. Indeed, an economic point of view gives only an incomplete view of the situation.
What we mean by western: capitalist (western idea of the economy) and developed countries, meaning that wouldinclude Japan, Australia and New Zealand for instance. It’s in other words, countries that feel economically, and sometimes politically, threatened by China.
In the first part we will present the theoretical framework of this essay, and what do we mean by economic discourse. Then in the second part we will analyze the western and Chinese discourses on Chinese economic growth and more particularlywe will focus on the use of some particular metaphors. Finally, we will present the conclusion of the comparison, and will emphasize on the importance of context, history and social values in the constructions of discourses.
A classical definition of discourse can be found in a dictionary: “written or spoken communication or debate” (New Oxford American Dictionary: 2005). This definitiondoes encompass a wide range of written and spoken production including political discourses, media, and academic papers. Though, it does not explicit the fact that language is a social practice (Fairclough and Wodak: 1997). Also, the context in which the language is used is too oftenly or misinterpretatred or not take into account at all (Wodak, Meyer: 2008).
Indeed in any discourse, there is...