Western industrialism has achieved miracles, promoting unprecedented levels of prosperity and raising millions around the world out of poverty. Industrial capitalism is now diffusing throughout the East. Japan, the four Tigers (Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong) and China are all incorporating themselves into the global industrial world. India, Brazil and many others are expected to follow the same course. But as China, India and other industrializing giants grow, they confront an inconvenient truth: they cannot rely on the Western industrial development model of fossil-fueled energy systems (resource throughput rather than circularity and generic finance) because these methods cause extreme spoliation of the environment and raise energy security, resource security and global warming concerns.

By necessity, a new approach to environmentally conscious development is already emerging in the East, with China leading the way in building a green industry at scale. As opposed to Western zero-growth advocates and free-market environmentalists, it can be argued that a more sustainable capitalism is being developed in China – to counter black developmental model based on coal. This new ‘green growth’ model of development, being perfected in China and now being emulated in India, Brazil, South Africa (and eventually by industrializing countries elsewhere), as well as by advanced industrial countries such as Germany, looks to become the new norm in the twenty-first century. Its core advantages are the energy security and resource security that are generated.

The British scientist James Lovelock has done the world an enormous service by formulating the theory of a ‘living earth’ named Gaia, where life self-regulates itself and the planet by keeping the atmospheric environment more or less constant, and likewise the environment of the oceans. In China’s Green Shift, Global Green Shift, Mathews proposes a way in which Gaia (a product of the processes of the earth) can be complemented by Ceres (our own creation of a renewable energy and circular economy system). Can these two concepts of how the earth works, represented by two powerful deities, be reconciled? While Lovelock is pessimistic, asserting that Gaia will look after herself and that if we survive at all it is likely to be as a greatly diminished industrial civilization, numbering no more than one billion people, Mathews argues in this book why he believes this prognosis to be mistaken. Mathews maintains that the changes that ‘we’ are driving, as a species, represent a viable way forward. They give us a chance of reconciling economy with ecology – or Ceres with Gaia.

John A. Mathews is a management strategy scholar who has influenced global policies on the greening of industry.

July 22, 2019

The sunrise project is an EU program for producing chemicals from solar energy rather than electric power. Professor Emeritus John A. Mathews spoke at a meeting of the Sunrise consortium in Bologna in May, and at the same time gave an interview on his recent work. The Sunrise consortium is “aiming at a circular production of high-value chemic...

July 18, 2019

The author acknowledges that this paper was originally contributed as Chapter 24 of The Oxford Handbook of Industrial Hubs and Economic Development, edited by Arkebe Oqubay and Justin Yifu Lin (Oxford University Press, 2020)

Abstract

After the success of East Asian industrialization efforts in the late 20th century, the 21st century has witness...

June 6, 2019

The GGS blog is pleased to announce that with the permission of Anthem Press we are making several more chapters of Global Green Shift available in downloadable form through this webpage. The new chapters uploaded are chapter 5, plus the whole of Part II – chapters 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. (Chapter 18 is already available.) The book...

In the vast world energy system, and in particular the world electric power system, it is critical in understanding the pace and direction of change to identify the key drivers. The system as a whole is slow-moving – the world is still burning a lot of coal for power, a lot of oil for transport, and a lot of gas for industrial processes. But...

March 29, 2019

Professor Emeritus John A. Mathews has contributed a chapter, The Rise of New Green Industries: A Dynamic View of China’s (and India’s) Eco-Modernizing Experience, to the newly published book, Reform and Development of China: After 40 Years. This book is a collection of newly revised papers from a 2016 conference held at the In...

January 19, 2019

Dr. Sung-Young Kim of Macquarie University, one of the collaborators of Professor Emeritus John Mathews, has just had an article on green energy systems of Korea and Taiwan published in the prestigious journal Review of International Political Economy (‘RIPE’).

In this article, Dr. Kim argues that policymakers in Korea and Taiwan view smart mi...

January 3, 2019

Professor Emeritus John Mathews has just had a paper on The Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) published in The Asia-Pacific Journal. This article asserts that the BRI is creating a community of states that have common interests in the building of infrastructure and in setting rules and standards for international trade within the BRI area. Through...

December 13, 2018

I have been to Taiwan many times, viewing with great interest the island’s highly successful strategy to achieve industrialization and wealth. What has caught my most recent interest is the way that Taiwan is shifting decisively in a green direction, shedding its past dependence on coal power (and until a couple of weeks ago, its commitment t...

December 13, 2018

The German scholar Clas-Otto Wene (Emeritus Professor at Chalmers University, Sweden) has built a worldwide reputation in recent years as an authoritative voice on the use of learning curves in analysis of energy systems. Readers of the Global Green Shift blog will recognize that learning curves are considered to be the foundation of future p...

November 21, 2018

Professor Emeritus John A. Mathews has contributed one chapter to the newly published book “Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy: A Twenty First Century Agenda” edited by Rainer Kattel at UCL London and Leonardo Burlamaqui at UERJ in Rio, Brazil.

In his chapter, “Schumpeter in the twenty-first century: Creative destruction and...

Professor John Mathews and Xin Huang have just had an article on China’s energy investment around the world published in The Asia-Pacific Journal.  This article demonstrates that China’s investments globally in power generation over the past five years have been more green than black.

Read the article in The Asia-Pacific Journal at https://apj...

September 18, 2018

At the University of Newcastle, a new industrial revolution is being ushered in. It’s based on organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells – flexible coatings that can be printed on plastic film or sheets in great quantity at low cost. As such, OPV printed solar cells promise to further revolutionize renewables by making solar cells sufficiently t...

July 22, 2018

Professor John Mathews has just had an article on new wave of urban farming published in CAB Reviews.

A new wave of city-focused food production, variously known as ‘plant factories’ (vegetable factories or fruit factories), or ‘vertical farming’ or simply as ‘closed environment agriculture’ (CEA) is sweeping the world. As opposed to open-air...

July 9, 2018

Seoul: It has just been announced by the International Schumpeter Society (ISS) that the co-winners of the 2018 Schumpeter Prize are Michael Best for his book How Growth Really Happens, and John Mathews for his book Global Green Shift: When CERES Meets GAIA. The prize winners were announced at the gala dinner of the Schumpeter Society held at...

Professor John Mathews, Xianlai Zeng and Jinhui Li have just had an article on China’s urban mining of e-waste published in Environmental Science & Technology.  In this work, they demonstrate utilizing real cost data from e-waste processors in China that ingots of pure copper and gold could be recovered from e-waste streams at costs that are...

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