Among sections of the global ruling class there at times can be heard the desire for China to 'smoothly' replace the U.S. as global hegemon and arbiter, as the US replaced Great Britain. If, to mean smooth, one overlooks the World Wars it took to cripple Great Britain as an imperial power.
The root of this motivation comes from the understanding that a world of feuding capitalist nation states is dangerous and leads almost inevitably to war. As is the understanding that a world ruled cooperatively by a global elite is unworkable given the close connection capitalism has with the rise of the nation state. A global government would probably not be capitalistic.
And so we can expect to see a Financial Times to write:
"If China does become the world’s biggest manufacturer, it will be a return to the top slot for a nation which – according to economic historians – was the world’s leading country for goods production for more than 1,500 years up until the 1850s, when Britain took over for a brief spell, mainly due to the impetus of the industrial revolution."
Yet the China of today looks less confident then a few years ago, more defensive and repressive, tossing relatively politically weak dissenters in prison by the boatload. And China historically has been very big and mostly poor on a per capita basis. The ability to project power requires a certain amount of internal stability and per capita wealth.
There is another option. That 2017 will be more like 1917, with weak ruling classes everywhere, a breakdown in the international order, and openings for revolution.