Where I would expect Chinese to be right now - and reasonably so
Friday, October 19, 2012 at 10:03AM
Thomas P.M. Barnett in Chart of the day, China, democracy, development

 

 

WSJ story on snapshot of Chinese attitudes about things and their own lives by Chinese polling firm:

The vast majority of Chinese people believe their country is heading in the right direction, according to a Pew Research Center survey, although there is rising discontent over issues from corruption to food safety—and a growing fondness for U.S.-style democracy.

One of the more surprising findings of the survey of Chinese attitudes by Washington-based Pew is that as public confidence in Chinese institutions— from government bureaucracies to the health-care system—deteriorates, appreciation for other systems of government is building.

Some 52% expressed a positive view of American-style democracy, with approval levels highest among the urban educated elite. However, affection for U.S. policy-making and President Barack Obama has cooled since he took office.

Overall, domestic confidence is higher in China than anywhere except Brazil, according to the poll conducted by Beijing firm Horizon Research Consultancy Group. In all, 82% of those surveyed said they are satisfied with the way things are going, and 83% said China's economic situation is good or very good, while 70% said their family's lot has improved financially over the past five years.

But attitudes in key areas have soured since Pew asked many of the same questions in 2008. Half of those polled said official malfeasance is a very big problem, worse than the 39% who said so in 2008, while another 35% termed it a moderately big problem.

Chinese this year categorized as very big problems many issues they described as only moderately bad in 2008, such as food safety, air pollution, education, worker rights, income inequality and the health-care system. While 13% said quality issues related to manufactured goods were a very big problem in 2008, for example, that figure shot to 33% this year.

Rising prices registered as a problem for 92% of respondents. 

That, my friends, is a nation poised on the edge of a progressive era/democratization. 

I'm not predicting it for tomorrow.  My favorite window for the big push is 2025-2030, but I am guessing I am being too pessimistic.

Article originally appeared on Thomas P.M. Barnett (http://thomaspmbarnett.com/).
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