Book release: The United States vs. China: The Quest for Global Economic Leadership


April 27, 2022, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Virtual Event

C. Fred Bergsten (PIIE), Stephanie Flanders (Bloomberg), Lawrence H. Summers (Harvard University) and Robert B. Zoellick (PIIE)

Event Summary

C. Fred Bergsten will present the conclusions of his latest book, The United States vs. China: The Quest for Global Economic Leadership, published by Polity Books. In this sweeping and authoritative analysis of the competition for global economic leadership between China and the United States, Bergsten warns of the disastrous consequences of hostile confrontation between these two superpowers. He paints a frightening picture of a world economy adopting Chinese characteristics in which the United States, after former President Trump abdicated much of its role, engages in a self-defeating attempt to "decouple" from its rival. Drawing on more than 50 years of active participation as a policymaker and close observation as a scholar, Bergsten calls on China to exercise constructive global leadership and on the United States to reject a policy of containment, avoid a new Cold War, and instead pursue "conditional competitive cooperation" to work with its allies and China to lead, rather than destroy, the world economy.

Bergsten's book has already won acclaim around the world. Martin Wolf, in the Financial Times, praises Bergsten for seeking to make China an "equal partner" in preserving the global economic order. In the New York Review of Books, former Governor. Jerry Brown of California, lauds Bergsten for opposing the "crackpot" idea of "framing the China threat as irredeemably antagonistic."


Stephanie Flanders
Senior Executive Editor for Economics and Head of Bloomberg Economics, Bloomberg


C. Fred Bergsten
Nonresident Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus, PIIE


  • Lawrence H. Summers
    Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University; former Secretary of the Treasury; former Director of the National Economic Council
  • Robert B. Zoellick
    Senior Counselor, Brunswick Group; Senior Fellow, Harvard University's Belfer Center; former President, World Bank Group; former US Trade Representative


C. Fred Bergsten is nonresident senior fellow and director emeritus at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, of which he was founding director from its creation in 1981 through 2012. He was also economic deputy to Dr. Henry Kissinger at the National Security Council, Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for International Affairs, Chairman of APEC's Eminent Persons Group and a Member of the President's Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. Bergsten was one of the most widely quoted think-tank economists in the world and was called "one of the ten people who can change your life" by USA Today. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of 47 books.