Keynote Speaker: Huang Zhong
Discussants: Wang Lei, Wang Li
Huang Zhong's lecture concentrates on "regime, rise and decline of great powers" and chooses great powers after the Congress of Vienna as samples to support his research.
Huang pointed out that democracy or republic is not inevitable for prosperity of a power and autocracy may lead to prosperity. There are different great powers with different regimes in the same era. One power in different era created its flourishing age with different regimes. Different countries with different regimes make their different contributions to the world civilization. Huang investigated some autocracy countries in history and found that their flourishing is not sustained. But when Germany and Japan changed form autocracy into democracy they became prosperous and their rise sustained. Some republic countries kept their flouring all the time such as UK and America.
Huang also pointed out that take the perspective of decline of a great power; republic and democracy have better self adjustment. UK changed from the empire on which the sun never sets into federal state union which kept its status now; Germany and Japan that are autocracy countries declined as meteors; Disintegration of the Soviet Union is similar as euthanasia which is a sample of peaceful transition of great power.
Huang stresses the conception of "safe country" which is ignored by countries indulged in imperial power. One great country may make their citizens feel horror and insignificant, Soviet Union is an example. So the great power for a country may be misfortune for its people. The criterion whether a country great or not is not the power but the satisfaction of its people.
November 26th, 2010