China is growing in prominence on the world stage, highlighted by its leadership roles in international forums like the United Nations, peacebuilding efforts, and pioneering of economic relationships through the Belt and Road Initiative. Though China’s development offers new opportunities, its rise is also seen by many as a direct challenge to the post-World War II order largely established by the United States and allies. What is China’s desired role in the world, and what might a future shaped by Chinese goals and priorities look like?

In an interview filmed on June 6, 2024, NCUSCR Director Elizabeth Economy joins the National Committee to discuss China’s new world order and the role of the United States in a world where China has greater influence.

Elizabeth Economy

Elizabeth Economy is the Hargrove Senior Fellow and Director, the U.S., China, and the World Program at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. From 2021–2023, Economy served as the Senior Advisor for China to the Secretary of Commerce. She was previously at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she served as the C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia Studies for over a decade. 

Economy’s most recent book is The World According to China (Polity, 2022). She is also the author of The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State, (Oxford University Press, 2018), which was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a prestigious literary award for foreign affairs books. Her other books include By All Means Necessary: How China’s Resource Quest is Changing the World (Oxford University Press, 2014) with Michael Levi, and The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future (Cornell University Press, 2004; 2nd edition, 2010). The River Runs Black was named one of the top 50 sustainability books by the University of Cambridge and won the 2005 International Convention on Asia Scholars Award for the best social sciences book published on Asia. Her books have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese. 

Economy serves on the board of managers of Swarthmore College, the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Board of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. She is also a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and the Council on Foreign Relations. 

She received her B.A with Honors from Swarthmore College, A.M. from Stanford University, and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.