The misguided forces driving conflict escalation between America and China, and the path to a new relationship
“A timely, fluid, readable assessment of a testy and rapidly changing global relationship.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A Financial Times Best Book of the Year: Economics
In the short span of four years, America and China have entered a trade war, a tech war, and a new Cold War. This conflict between the world’s two most powerful nations wouldn’t have happened were it not for an unnecessary clash of false narratives. America falsely blames its trade and technology threats on China yet overlooks its shaky saving foundation. China falsely blames its growth challenges on America’s alleged containment of market-based socialism, ignoring its failed economic rebalancing.
In a hard-hitting analysis of both nations’ economies, politics, and policies, Stephen Roach argues that much of the rhetoric on both sides is dangerously misguided, amplified by information distortion, and more a reflection of each nation’s fears and vulnerabilities than a credible assessment of the risks they face. Outlining the disastrous toll of conflict escalation between China and America, Roach offers a new road map to restoring a mutually advantageous relationship.
Stephen Roach is a senior fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center of Yale Law School and the former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia. He is the author of Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China. He lives in New Canaan, CT.
“Stephen Roach . . . believes that China and the US both should and could have a workably co-operative relationship. Instead, they have fallen victim to mutually reinforcing false narratives of the other. Roach insists that there exists a way of trust and interdependence. Conceptually, he is right. Indeed, conflict would damage everybody, possibly catastrophically. But can it still be avoided?”—Martin Wolf, Financial Times, “Best Books of 2022: Economics”
“A powerful new book.”—Gillian Tett, Financial Times
“China and America are locked in a destructive codependence. Stephen Roach is right to apply a psychological lens to the increasing friction between the two countries.”—Rana Foroohar, Financial Times
“[Roach’s] diagnosis of the current situation and how we got here is convincing, while he tries to offer ideas for how the two countries can avoid their rivalry descending into a catastrophic military confrontation.”—Andrew Peaple, SPE
“A remarkable book. Accidental Conflict offers a wealth of evidence about and a new depth of understanding of the underlying forces that drive the Chinese and United States economies.”—Robert J. Shiller, author of Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events
“If you wonder how the US-China relationship has gone from friendly to hostile in a few years, this is the book for you. It details the economic and political processes underlying this change and presents an avenue to avoid ‘Accidental Conflict.’”—Robert Engle, Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences, 2003
“Accidental Conflict is a very important and timely book. Its arguments and analyses have the potential to change misperceptions by policymakers and analysts on both sides and avoid a dangerous and mutually destructive course.”—Laura D. Tyson, former chair, White House Council of Economic Advisers
“I can think of no one better qualified than Steve Roach to explain how the China-America bromance went wrong, and how it could, with good will on both sides, be put right.”—Howard Davies, author of The Chancellors: Steering the British Economy in Crisis Times
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