The normal polemic against the so called 'civilisational states' such as China, for example, is that they can be pigeon holed merely as 'authoritarian', that they are, in fact, aberrations on the road to the full model of 'liberal democracy'. It is their inherent 'backwardness', inability to reform, not quite 'all in' on the merits of liberal democracy, that keeps them locked up in Plato's cave.
China between the next superpower and another Ptolemaic Egypt. The rise of China from the perspective of historical comparison
Is China the next superpower? A short historical comparison, which could show us more or less an Alpha version of “The rise of China” - may provide us with another answer – possibly negative.