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China Discovers World Expo 2010 Is No Olympics

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the message is clear: China has arrived. Hosting the World Expo with grand pavilions and futuristic displays, Shanghai can barely contain its brimming pride. But for all the razzle-dazzle, the Chinese government must feel some disappointment that this “second Olympics” is barely registering in world opinion. The past three decades of intensified globalization, bringing countries and their splendors much closer together, may have robbed China of the mystique associated with the great World’s Fairs of earlier eras.


For China, particularly patriotic domestic residents whom the Communist Party must impress to retain some patina of legitimacy, this Expo is one more indicator that the country has reclaimed its former status as one of the world’s most powerful nations. From a global point of view, though, the Shanghai Expo can be seen as a test of the viability for any contemporary World’s Fair. And it is hard to see how, in an era of globalization so saturated with World’s Fair Effects, such an international event can ever really matter again. If the determined and deep-pocketed Chinese state can’t do it, who can?

If China can't do it, nobody can. 

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