John and Doris Naisbitt: “China’s Megatrends”

On January 5 I started to write a post about an interview I heard on NPR’s always excellent Diane Rehm show with John Naisbitt, the author of the famous book Megatrends, and his wife Doris, who were there to plug their new book, China’s Megatrends: The 8 Pillars of a New Society. (You can listen to the entire interview here; scroll down a bit).

I never finished that post. I put it aside because John and Doris got me so incensed I decided it would be better to leave it alone than to write in the heat of passion and regret it later. (And I was not the only one to find this interview shocking for its unabashed brown-nosing and apologism.)

Then today I saw another interview with the two self-proclaimed China gurus and this time I decided to finish the post.

Let me preface my thoughts by saying this: I try to give China credit for its accomplishments. Several posts down you’ll find a piece about this being “China’s century.” But I also can’t ignore the bad, and thus below you’ll also find a post on the censorship of China’s Internet. I’m a big believer in trying to see beyond the box each of us has has created for himself, the one with all our assumptions and prejudices and beliefs, etc. I really do want to see the whole picture, and longtime readers know I’ve been willing to question my own POV in order to give China a fair chance. It’s absolutes about China (and the US) that make me cringe: “good,” “evil,” etc.

The Naisbitts’ creds sound good. They’ve lived in China for a decade. Doris Naisbitt is a professor at Yunnan University. Her husband was assistant secretary of education under JFK and is definitely a “futurist” of vast influence, Megatrends being one of the business bibles of the 1980s.

During the Diane Rehm interview, the first alarm sounded when Doris tried to argue that a key reason for China’s blocked web sites was pornography, the implication being the GFW is actually a good thing, supported by China’s citizens. John chimes in about how censorship is used to ensure “harmony,” something he seems to see as benign paternalism. Doris also argues that we hear negative things about China mainly because the Western media can’t resist “gossiping” about China because it is doing so well. Jealous neighbors.

This was just the start of a string of sugar-coated excuses for Chinese repression. Did you know Liu Xiaobo was arrested not for speaking out but for “organizing an alternative government”? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Okay, so on to their more recent interview in The Spiegel. It starts with a question about the Google controversy and whether Google’s doing the right thing by considering leaving China.

John Naisbitt: They’ve broken a contract. In order to get a license, they agreed not to allow searches on certain subjects. And now, four years later, they say ‘we won’t do this anymore because we’ve been hacked.’ In Russia, hackers are much more vigorous and plentiful, but Google has said nothing. The company has a big market share there whereas in China it doesn’t. Google is breaking the contract and it’s blaming it on something else.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So you think it’s a PR stunt?

Doris Naisbitt: We cannot say that, but it’s a gift! Look what a wonderful marketing effect this has for Google — being the David fighting Goliath.

John Naisbitt: Say it’s a PR stunt — it couldn’t have succeeded any better. Because here you have US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton getting on Google’s side, not understanding the contractual situation, and making the Internet one of the foreign policy planks of the administration. That’s not a bad thing. But it went from a contractual disagreement to the secretary of state becoming a spokesperson for Google.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Does the Chinese government respond to external pressure, whether from a company like Google or the US government?

John Naisbitt: They are built to resist outside pressure. They really resent being jerked around. They resent Google putting them in a position where it looks like it’s their fault when Google is the one that initiated this challenge. I think they’re really pissed off. In China, when you make a deal, you never sign anything, you just shake hands. It’s all based on trust. But if you break that, you’re dead in the water. This breaking of trust is a really big deal for the Chinese.

This is thoroughly in line with the NPR interview. It is China that’s under assault from ungrateful multinationals, pesky activists and others who refuse to respect the status quo, despite its inherent repressive tendencies. Google’s motivations are self-aggrandizement and a desire to get out of a contract they didn’t like. Slimeballs, that Brin and Page! And “we can’t say it was a PR stunt, but…” Slick, very slick. I half-expected them to say Google launched the cyber-attacks on itself. Not a word about the hacked gmail accounts of human rights activists, whom the Naisbitts most likely see as ungrateful vermin.

Some of the points they go on to make are true. China’s system does allow its rulers to move ahead and get things done, and they have made enormous progress. Yes, we all know that. What bugged me, however, is their fawning, China-can-do-no-wrong attitude, wherein Google and Liu Xiaobo and the Western media are the only bad guys, while poor misunderstood China nobly moves forward, transcending the noise and the attempts to bring her down.

The earlier link I gave is a must-read to see what these two are up to and to see just how cozy they are with China’s top brass, especially in the State Council Information Office (i.e., propaganda department). And don’t miss the quote from the Guangzhou author who notes that nearly all of their sources are CCP reports and party-line-toeing Chinese newspaper articles, with next to no first-hand observations or original research.

Something about this simply doesn’t smell right. Either they are incredibly naive or incurious, or they’ve been bought and paid for. Just like our friend, they point to the exact same Pew Research poll he does to tell us how happy the Chinese are:

What does democracy mean? Rule of the people. In China, they respond to the people’s wishes. You may not believe that, but a study done by the Pew Research Center found that the Chinese government has an 89 percent approval rating. There is a lot of openness and freedom. The entrepreneurs and the artists, they love it. The energy it releases is palpable in China.

Yes, there’s a lot of energy in China, and some very, very happy artists. Most people in China support their central government. If an election were held today they’d elect the same leaders (though the one-party system has made any alternative an impossibility). China’s doing better, it’s richer, it’s powerful, it’s in many ways the greatest rags to riches story ever told. But looking at geniuses like Naisbitt and Rein you’d never know there was corruption and repression that not infrequently results in violence, and appalling abuse of the disenfranchised. You’d never know of the plight of the truly poor, and of a potential environmental catastrophe that could bring all that progress to its knees. It is so one-sided and so suck-uppish it’s nauseating.

If there is one book I am not going to lay down money for it’s China’s Megatrends. Luckily some customer reviewers over at Amazon are already onto them and call out their one-sidedness.

Keep a watchful eye on the Naisbitts, and take whatever they say in China’s Megatrends with a mega-grain of sea salt.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 75 Comments

Well, the Naisbitts never were self-proclaimed liberals, so no surprise that they have the eyes to catch the charm of a paternal, authoritative regime; whether they have been fooled, or have been fooling themselves into believing the recent censorship is about to ‘cleaning up online pornography’, that shows some westerns could easily end up with ‘boiling frog’ syndrome by living in China too long.

February 11, 2010 @ 5:55 am | Comment

Very curious and kind of disappointing. John Naibitt was a favorite author in delivering info ala Freakenomics back in the day. Sad to see him end up on the East is Red shill heap.

February 11, 2010 @ 6:33 am | Comment

I found always funny the interest authoritarian regimes have in pornography.

There must be some hidden Freudian problem there.

It looks quite similar to a herd behavior where the dominant male prevents other males to get closer to the females. An atavistic primeval behavior.

Most curious is the justification the use. “Just think on the children!”
And with that excuse they justify all kind of censorship and repression that has nothing to do with pornography.
It is incredible what children can be used for. Maybe we should consider to forbid children…. their are dangerous life forms.

I find also most fascinating the text message supervision implemented recently by the CH govt. Could be a case of a new form of voyeurism?

I wonder what one could find if the hidden corners of the home or computer hard disk of some of these censors.

February 11, 2010 @ 6:52 am | Comment

Even Lindberg admired the Third Reich. Nothing new here, move along.

February 11, 2010 @ 6:53 am | Comment

Spotless, I like the “boiling frog” theory.

Eco, people can get all irrational when you present something as a threat to children. Right-wing pols use that tactic all the time. It makes a great excuse for repression.

February 11, 2010 @ 7:20 am | Comment

Speaking of pornography, here some nice peeks.

http://tinyurl.com/2rdw3b

http://tinyurl.com/y9qeu72

http://tinyurl.com/yg9gpca

And sexy story about last peek.

http://tinyurl.com/y8czzgg

Enjoy! ;-)

February 11, 2010 @ 7:41 am | Comment

There must be some hidden Freudian problem there.

It looks quite similar to a herd behavior where the dominant male prevents other males to get closer to the females. An atavistic primeval behavior.

HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE stretch

Even Lindberg admired the Third Reich.

Even Lindbergh? He was a disgusting human being.

February 11, 2010 @ 7:42 am | Comment

Forget one last peek.

http://tinyurl.com/l8e3g7

More related peeks here.

http://tinyurl.com/yzkohds

Enjoy again! ;-)

February 11, 2010 @ 7:52 am | Comment

@merp
“Even Lindbergh? He was a disgusting human being.”

When you are able to cross the Atlantic ocean in a single engine light airplane without navigation help, and in one piece (yơu and airplane) I will consider you as disgusting as him.

February 11, 2010 @ 7:55 am | Comment

About those nice peeks… I forgot about the children.

Kids. Don’t follow the links!! Ok?

February 11, 2010 @ 7:58 am | Comment

When you are able to cross the Atlantic ocean in a single engine light airplane without navigation help, and in one piece (yơu and airplane) I will consider you as disgusting as him.

Right and when you are able to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty I will consider you as disgusting as the CCP.

February 11, 2010 @ 8:00 am | Comment

@merp
“HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE stretch”

You think so? You should read more above Mao’s sexual life.

God example of a herd dominant male.

February 11, 2010 @ 8:02 am | Comment

Ahem.. I mean.. Good Example…

February 11, 2010 @ 8:02 am | Comment

Because we know Mao’s sex life has everything to do with censorship in China. I’m sure Richard will point the finger at me for derailing the thread as usual.

February 11, 2010 @ 8:03 am | Comment

I see the anti-pornography is working, Chinese leaders are the most moral in all the world…
http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2009/11/no-bars-no-mistresses-chinese-officials-warned/
“One statistic trotted out at a recent speech to bureaucrats: 95 percent of officials investigated for corruption were found to be keeping mistresses.”

February 11, 2010 @ 8:05 am | Comment

What really gets to me is how people can live off earlier success and be around forever.
Mega-Trends was truly influential, but the other books were so-so at best, and yet the Naisbitts still continue to be hailed… which also belies the “their credentials sound good.” Sound good, but only because people don’t seem to want to listen to anyone who explains things as diverse as they are rather than in the most simplified terms. If they were pop stars, they would be considered one-hit wonders, but as “future guru,” Naisbitt still goes around.

February 11, 2010 @ 8:07 am | Comment

I hope these panda huggers are that many, although I am always sure there are some. Wish all of them go see the TV drama wo ju, narrow dwelling and learn what a real China is like. Hope there are more TV/films about a real China.

February 11, 2010 @ 8:16 am | Comment

Corruption? No, no, no. They just had a good heart for poor mistresses……

February 11, 2010 @ 8:18 am | Comment

There is no corruption in China – it is an open and harmonious society!

February 11, 2010 @ 8:26 am | Comment

Eco – comment 11
Freudian slip? Not that I would compare the CCP to, say, the Roman Catholic Church or anything…

:-D

February 11, 2010 @ 8:28 am | Comment

Eco, for the record, Lindbergh was in some ways a dreadful person. He was an anti-Semite, a white supremacist and a believer in eugenics. He appeared to sympathize with the Nazis, at least for a while. So while I admire his heroism, I don’t admire the man. Kind of like Henry Ford, TS Eliot, Richard Wagner and a host of other great men who were also very bigoted.

February 11, 2010 @ 8:37 am | Comment

Gerald, thanks for the excellent comment, and sorry it got delayed.

That they got half of the Diane Rehm show tells you there’s still some cachet to the Megatrends brand, deserved or not. And they’re going to milk it for every cent it’s worth.

Regarding Eco’s points about using “porn” as an excuse to censor/repress – here’s an excellent new article from Forbes on that very subject: “China’s Porn trick.”

February 11, 2010 @ 8:46 am | Comment

The Naisbitts did mention that there is rampant corruption in China and there is less political freedom compared to the West. Perhaps whenever mentions China, Westerners seem to want to hear for some reason the human rights, corruption, and the environmental issues. Perhaps some other China experts don’t want to repeat the same kind of crap like a broken record.

February 11, 2010 @ 11:37 am | Comment

Here’s what I said about corruption:

But looking at geniuses like Naisbitt and Rein you’d never know there was corruption and repression that not infrequently results in violence, and appalling abuse of the disenfranchised.

Naisbitt only acknowledges corruption when Diane Rehm asks him about it, and he makes it sound as though the central party has no role in it (“the top leadership is not corrupt”) . Granted, most of the corruption occurs at the local level, but it is the system itself that breeds corruption; the central government knows it’s rampant, but if they truly tried to end it they’d lose the support necessary to retain one-party control.

It’s quite ironic, pug, to hear you criticizing others for being “a broken record” spouting “the same old crap”!

February 11, 2010 @ 11:53 am | Comment

It’s like hard-core porn is soooooo hard to find in China. I could walk up side streets in any Chinese city and immediately be assailed by several dubious-looking coves trying to flog me pirated DVDs of the latest Japanese “AV” releases.

And yes, what is it with authoritarian regimes and erotica/porn?

February 11, 2010 @ 12:47 pm | Comment

Naisbitt says ”the top leadership is not corrupt”.

I assume he infers this from the fact that as China Daily and the rest of the Chinese media never expose it, it doesn’t exist.

Puppet or cretin?

February 11, 2010 @ 12:53 pm | Comment

Or a bit of both?

Actually, I think it’s pretty clear he is no cretin. I’ll have to go with puppet.

February 11, 2010 @ 1:05 pm | Comment

I have met the counterparts of these people teaching at other universities in China, people for whom anything painted red and non-American is automatically good, people for whom history is smörgåsbord of examples as to why the west is evil and the west’s victims by extension good. These are people who have not re-analysed their opinions since 1969. Of course they have their counterparts in those for whom everything the west has ever done is good and the west’s victims evil.

Beyond these simple-minded world views, one must also concede that there is a natural gratitude towards a state which offers employment to such people, often people whom have suffered reverses in their chosen fields of employment in the west only to achieve a measure of success in China. The state-sponsored English-language ‘media’ in China (although it would be better to simply concede that what China Daily, Global Times, China Radio International, and CCTV 9 really are – propaganda that varies from the occasionally slick to the often amazingly heavy-handed) is crammed with such presumably well-meaning individuals. What country would give pro-CCP super-hack Chris Gelken an anchor-man’s position? Only China and Iran, apparently. Where could Chris Devonshire Ellis get away with passing himself off as a lawyer whilst sucking up to the CCP for years on end – until, that is, incautiousness of his part led to his downfall? Only in China. Where can convicted criminals (violent and economic) set themselves up as ‘experts’ in various fields whilst attempting to insure themselves through pro-CCP rhetoric? That’s right, China.

This is not to say that credit where credit is due is not called for. In contrast to the millennialism of 1949-79, the CCP of the reform-and-opening era has had the good sense to allow the Chinese people to go about the business of building a successful economy. Boot-licking Quislingism of the kind shown in this interview, on the other hand, is simply despicable.

February 11, 2010 @ 1:38 pm | Comment

@Richard
Great persons are not usually nice. I had to deal with a couple national champions in their sports here, and they were a pain in the ass.

Mainstream media usually attempts to make role figures out of them, in some cases it blowbacked.

Not that the media didnt profited in blowback cases….

February 11, 2010 @ 2:24 pm | Comment

To Richard,
thanks for the review, and for providing a summary of the back-story for these authors and their book.
I wonder if it doesn’t just boil down to them embracing a position that’s financially expedient. It reminds me of the times when Bill O’Reilly has to drag his butt onto The Daily Show, tail firmly planted between his legs, for the sake of the mighty dollar or book sale. That said, the parallel only works if they’re trying to impress the crowd that listens to Diane Rehm, which may or may not help them move books. Maybe they’re hoping to mine some sales in China, or at least butter up the CCP enough to let them at least have a crack at it.

February 11, 2010 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

It is interesting that nobody has mentioned yet the huge contradiction that Naisbitt generates in the excerpt that Richard cites:

“John Naisbitt: They’ve broken a contract. In order to get a license, they agreed not to allow searches on certain subjects. And now, four years later, they say ‘we won’t do this anymore because we’ve been hacked.’”

A few lines down:

“In China, when you make a deal, you never sign anything, you just shake hands. It’s all based on trust. But if you break that, you’re dead in the water. This breaking of trust is a really big deal for the Chinese.”

Leaving aside, for the moment, the question of whether or not parties in China really “trust” each other, Naisbitt criticises Google for breaking a contract, then says that, in China, nothing is written down.

Unintentionally, he has drawn our attention to the fact that the Western “contracts” are not endemic to China. Naisbitt criticises the Western company for not observing a legal construct (the contract) of Western culture. In fact, by his admission that in China, “you never sign anything”, he draws our attention to the idea that the Chinese are less likely to recognise a “contract” as binding.

So who broke the contract? I watched a panel discussion about the Google issue where a commentator (I think it was Rabecca McKinnan) noted that it appears that Google agreed to filter its searches from the start, but that the demands of the Propaganda Department have been getting stricter and stricter over time. As there seems to be a general agreement that restrictions in the Chinese media environment have become more intense in the last three or four years, whether due to a reinvigoration of Party-Public communication efforts, the Olympics, Tibet, Xinjiang, the Expo, or the economic crisis, I find this explanation to be the more likely one.

February 11, 2010 @ 4:56 pm | Comment

“In China, when you make a deal, you never sign anything”

I believe I have some real-estate in Florida which this man might be interested in . . . ..

Really, utter baloney. By law people employed in companies (is it above a certain size or simply registered companies? I can’t remember) have to have contracts of employment, the company I work for right now does a lot of business in Chian, none of our Chinese associates would even dream of working with us without a written contract, every place I lived in in China and every job I did that was anything more than a bit of money on the side involved me signing a detailed contract. Really, what planet are these people from and who do they think they are kidding with their supposed ‘expertise’?

February 11, 2010 @ 5:06 pm | Comment

SKC, why stoop so low to join the horde of rabble-rouser here? What a big disappointment.

February 11, 2010 @ 5:44 pm | Comment

Google did the right thing by the dictates of Chinese custom – it treated the contract as a process, rather than as a set of dead rules.

February 11, 2010 @ 6:45 pm | Comment

Rhan, which rabble do you think we’re rousing? Do you think the Naisbitts are giving people a true picture of China?

February 11, 2010 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

He was talking about himself….

February 12, 2010 @ 1:44 am | Comment

I read the Chinese edition of the Naisbitt’s book. I have no way of knowing how much the Chinese edition diverges from the English original, but it’s as bad as everyone says.

I picked up a copy of the Chinese edition of Martin Jacques’ book (“When China Rules the World” 当中国统治世界) too, and it’s not much better. Somewhat more threatening, perhaps.

Both books are displayed prominently just inside the main door at the big bookstore (北京图书大厦) in Xidan. To their credit, Chinese readers don’t seem to be buying.

Not a fan of Diane Rehm, though her voice posesses a certain hypnotic quality. I thought her interview with the Naisbitt’s was kind of sad.

If you missed it, there’s an On Point (Tom Ashbrook, WBUR) interview with Martin Jacques (“When China Rules the World”) and Professor Susan Shirk (“Fragile Superpower”). It’s better, I think, than Rehm’s interview.

http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/01/china-as-the-new-global-power

In addition, On Point is interviewing author Peter Hessler of “River Town” and “Oracle Bones” fame. Hessler’s got a new book (“Country Driving”), which I intend to pick up in Hawaii next week. The Hessler interview should be available for streaming and download later today.

http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/02/country-driving-in-china

God bless America and the North Shore. And f*ck putz_ster for no particular reason!

February 12, 2010 @ 3:35 am | Comment

Gan Lu, thanks a lot for that great information.

Actually, I find Diane Rehm an excellent interviewer, extremely down to earth but also no-nonsense. Yesterday I heard her lose her temper at GOP operative Grover Norquist, raising her voice and telling him he was out of line. And she handled Naisbitt pretty well, I thought, considering China is not her usual area of expertise.

I should receive Hessler’s new book toorrow and can’t wait; I hear it’s his best yet.

And f*ck putz_ster for no particular reason!

Please don’t say that. It gives Merp and pug ammunition when they try to say I tolerate abuse toward one side but not the other. I don’t want any of us to talk to anyone else like that, no matter which way they lean.

February 12, 2010 @ 4:06 am | Comment

All this talk about China raise and China will rule the world…. There is something that I can get out of the back of my mind. The raise of Muslim world.

It may seem far fetched today but just consider it. A culture that goes from the Atlantic to the pacific. Historically more open than China, and with periods of great dynamism.

Muslim world may look bloody and messy today, but if you look beyond today conflict there may be something into it. Usually this conflicts when a nation or group of people arrive to a new self awareness.

One thing to consider. Great nations always decline, and many nations wait to take their lead, but usually the one that succeed is not the one everybody expected.

The problem I see with China is that it is too much inner looking and self isolation prone: culturally, geographically and mentally. Rather than being part of the world it seems to be like a world inside the world.

February 12, 2010 @ 4:55 am | Comment

For most of the time in history China has been, for the rest of the world, a brooding presence, impenetrable that fights protracted wars at its borders.

For them the rest of the world, outside China, were just small island around the center of the world… their world.

For much of the rest of the world, china was like a big hole in a remote part of the world.

For the rest of the world, the outside here is outer space, and unless alien species exist and space travel is feasible…. we are in a better position with respect to our out-world, than China’s out-world. ;-)

For them we are outside, but for us they are inside.

February 12, 2010 @ 5:12 am | Comment

Eco – I think Islam is just a sideshow – something we Europeans brood over due to a few centuries of conflict. With regards to Chinese being inward looking, I have some doubts. Certainly seems to be no shortage of Chinese outside of China, even in antiquity (http://www.timescolonist.com/life/Ancient+Asian+skeleton+unearthed+Italy/2511950/story.html) and the area we know as China has had many peoples enter and settle down :-)
Mind you, this does beg the question of what is “Chinese”, just as we have to ask what “Islam” is…

February 12, 2010 @ 5:44 am | Comment

Beyond the conflicts when Islam raised and extended, it created one of the firsts globalizations. The basis for a new one is still there. Things may change pretty fast if Turkey turns its view out from Europe back towards the east/south.

I consider sideshow only the conflicts at the borders with Islam, and the inner violence and terrorism, that has more to do with inner struggle about what vision of Islam gets the supremacy. All those terrorist acts in western countries, as terrible as it sounds, is just marketing for some groups striving for power and recognition in the muslim world.

The view of the muslim world is somewhat different here. We had them for 800 years. It was considered a greater culture, and we have a good mix of that culture in our language, food, architecture and some attitudes.
The image that their are giving now is quite at variance with our historic memory.

While there was darkness in Europe, there was light in Cordoba. That culture was more tolerant than christian one. Many works of ancient authors: literature, mathematics, philosophy were then copied there and transfer to north Europe, were they had simply disappeared. It was a time when the three cultures lived together, with some strifes from time to time, but much was achieved when they iterated one with the other. Just have a look at Toledo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toledo,_Spain

But going back to the main topic in this blog…

Yes there is a lot of Chinese people abroad, but they do not exert a transforming influence in more regions were they go. And they keep quite a bit for themselves.

February 12, 2010 @ 6:12 am | Comment

“Yes there is a lot of Chinese people abroad, but they do not exert a transforming influence in more regions were they go. And they keep quite a bit for themselves.”
Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand…? One could throw in…nah, better not ;-)

I still remember my holiday in Southern Spain. While the other Brits and Germans seemed keen on getting melanomas, I went around Grenada and Sevilla. Nice :-)

February 12, 2010 @ 6:26 am | Comment

“In China, when you make a deal, you never sign anything, you just shake hands. It’s all based on trust. But if you break that, you’re dead in the water. This breaking of trust is a really big deal for the Chinese.”

So the Chinese government broke trust, or at least were perceived to by Google and the relationship fell to pieces. It does explain Google’s behaviour.

February 12, 2010 @ 6:29 am | Comment

All those terrorist acts in western countries, as terrible as it sounds, is just marketing for some groups striving for power and recognition in the muslim world.

That sounds worse than terrible, not only for those groups striving for recognition, but also the presumably broader community they are “marketing” themselves to.

February 12, 2010 @ 6:40 am | Comment

Yes, is terrible. The view of death in Muslim mindset is quite different from ours.

February 12, 2010 @ 7:03 am | Comment

@mike
Did you visit the Alhambra?

I have still to go there….

February 12, 2010 @ 7:04 am | Comment

Eco – yep, sure did. Nice – and free as I had a student card :-) Just wish I had gotten to Cordoba…

February 12, 2010 @ 8:03 am | Comment

One pleasure I dervive from perusing this site is that every week I seem to stumble over another gem of Orwellian doublethink.

Last week it was “information imperialism”, this week it’s “vertical democracy”.

Both classics.

February 12, 2010 @ 11:40 am | Comment

In Spain there was once Organic Democracy (nothing to do with ecology) and Vertical Unions.

February 12, 2010 @ 3:34 pm | Comment

“In Spain there was once Organic Democracy (nothing to do with ecology) and Vertical Unions.”

During the Franco era, right?

February 12, 2010 @ 3:46 pm | Comment

“Boot-licking Quislingism of the kind shown in this interview, on the other hand, is simply despicable.”

I’m a bit late joining this party, but FOARP sums it up nicely.

The Naisbitts are moving inexorably towards their ‘friend of China’ visa status.

February 12, 2010 @ 7:26 pm | Comment

Great post.

I too am a Diane Rehm fan (going beyond even her voice).

People are using the Google “thing” to advance their own agenda and it is highly susceptible to that because virtually nobody really has the inside story. This makes it easy to talk generally and then act as though the general are the facts with respect to Google. This is what the Naisbetts have done and it is highly questionable whether even “the general” they discuss has any connection with reality.

Was there really such a contract? What did it say? Was it written or oral? Who breached it? How was it breached? Is it really true that China doesn’t have written contracts? No, as FOARP nicely points out in his comment, actually ALL employees must sign a written contract in China. But why are we talking about a contract and contracts as if that has anything to do with anything anyway?

There have always been people like the Naisbetts for whom truth is just something to bend to justify an end. I will not be buying or reading their book.

February 14, 2010 @ 12:33 am | Comment

Thanks for a great comment, Dan.

February 14, 2010 @ 1:11 am | Comment

Yes there is a lot of Chinese people abroad, but they do not exert a transforming influence in more regions were they go. And they keep quite a bit for themselves.

South Chinese built the economy of Southeast Asia from the ground up.

February 14, 2010 @ 9:01 am | Comment

I have to agree with Merp on this one. Everywhere Chinese people go, they excel and make a significant impact on their communities.

February 14, 2010 @ 10:01 am | Comment

CHINA’S MEGATRENDS –

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/art/books/2010/02/13/244790/Chinas-Megatrends.htm

February 15, 2010 @ 10:28 am | Comment

Interesting review, thanks. Money quote:

The congratulatory tone of the book almost implies that China can do no wrong, while criticisms are depicted as archaic stereotypes. Furthermore, with Chinese news articles as the only source of reference, there could potentially be some black holes yet to be filled by the eight pillars. In a section on China-Taiwan relations, the authors state that the recent warming of economic exchanges have allowed the nations to go from “political posturing to amicable cuddling.” Critics will beg to differ, seeing as it is pretty hard to cuddle with over 1,000 missiles standing in the way.

February 15, 2010 @ 11:05 am | Comment

@pekingduck

I met John and Doris recently and they certainly do not see the same issues many people do. At the risk of causing you further irritation, here’s a link to the video interview:
http://www.thomascrampton.com/china/john-naisbitt-china-megatrends/

February 19, 2010 @ 3:09 pm | Comment

I haven’t yet read the transcipt or listened to the interview, but the comments on Liu Xiaobo are enough to make me furious. Right now I am visiting with a very good Chinese friend whose brother spent nine years in prison for nothing more than being a member of Fulan Gong. Some such trumped up charge was brought against him as well. IF you don’t think this is happening, you are just culpably ignoring a reality about China. And if you think such imprisonment is in some sense justified, you are simply deluded. I am not sure whether Naisbett is deluded or culpably ignorant but in either case, I have a hard time taking anything he says seriously.

February 20, 2010 @ 8:18 pm | Comment

My greatest pleasure I derive from perusing this site is that every week I seem to stumble over of news from the GREAT EST and the MOST FREE NATION in the world, but no one in here are interested!
I like this one most recently, that I want to share with you bunch. Do not miss it!
Toys for Modern Youth In America
When you shop for your loved ones this year, get them practical gifts that are both fun and prepare them for adult life in these times. We’ve put together a gift buying guide so you don’t have to feel helpless when gifting today’s youth.
Practice Birth Control Pills
Ages 6-11
These tiny candy pills resemble something your daughter will be getting to know sooner than later. With most girls sexually active by 12, and reaching the 25 partner point sometime by age 17, she’ll need to develop a routine of taking the right pill nightly. These brightly colored pure cane sugar pills will give her a little reward at the end of each day, and build that all-important habit of staying sterile. She’ll also feel like she’s becoming a woman when she, too, can take the pills her mother and older sisters live by. $24 for 12 monthly packs, comes with fake Planned Parenthood advice sheet.
Make-Work Desk
Ages 8-14
With good jobs few and far between, and our currency all but worthless (and falling fast), your precious amotivated snowflake is most likely going to end up in an entry-level job for most of his or her life. That is, if they don’t get hooked on drugs and become permanent food service employees. You can develop good habits with our Make-Work Desk, which both delights youngsters and teaches them early to look busy and if they’re not busy, to invent something good. Realistic reference manuals, a multi-line phone, drawers to clean and our handy 1.2mhz “Crashing Again” computer will show them how to always look busy, even when they like their coworkers put in 15 minutes of work a day and spend the rest of time in meetings, on the phone, or self-stimulating. $149, with Crashing Again computer $249
Young Partier DUI Field Test Practice Kit
Ages 6-12
With the way they grow up these days, it’s only a few more years before your child will drink to excess — and drive home. Why not start them early on dodging the cops? This easy home kit lets you set up a DUI (“Drunk Driving”) Field Test just like the cops do at the roadblocks. See how many drinks your youngster can down while practicing the alphabet backwards, walking a straight line, touching her nose with eyes closed and stepping through the complex patterns that law enforcement officers use to test for drunkenness. This makes drunk driving not only fun, but potentially saves your child thousands of dollars yearly that could be spent on hookers and blow. $39, additional breath mints $2
Sing-A-Long Excuses CD
Ages 4-21
If your civilization is dying, only the real losers take it at face value. Whether at school, on the job, in front of a Congressional investigation, or simply trying to dodge all the losers, fakes, parasites and jerks they’ll meet on a daily basis, your child needs to learn to sing like a bird — sing out lies, excuses, deflections and evasions, that is! Our long-playing CD sets common verbal gambits to song to make these classic excuses easy to remember, and to help children someday invent their own variants for whatever responsibilities they have to dodge. Children glow as they sing along with our mournful blues ballad, “Doctor Says I Ain’t So Well Today,” and they really come alive for the reggae-themed “No One Told Me (This Was My Job)” as well as the heavy metal ripper “Can’t Talk Now, Have an Organ Transplant.” If you start them out early with this informative and catchy CD, you’ll make winners in our future goes nowhere economy. $12

February 21, 2010 @ 12:58 am | Comment

hehe,lame duck happy new year. hope you like these mega treads from amerika.

February 21, 2010 @ 12:59 am | Comment

Glad to see that you’ve posted about this. I missed this post as I was traveling, but this entire China Megatrends thing and all of the odd comments that they have been making first struck me as a joke, like an odd piece of performance art?
However, it is becoming increasingly clear that these people are serious. As such, it’s important to keep pointing out their at once insane and comic worldview.

February 27, 2010 @ 3:14 am | Comment

what a bunch of twisted ppl all looking to redeem themselves by feeding their distorted life’s view points to others,at the hope of making themselves appear to have a higher grasp on what the world needs to be as so well adjusted as they hope we see them to be.Please, don’t flatter yourselves to even dream that this is such a revelation of some gifted minds that we have to just buy into all this crap.If you want to be a communist go for it,but don’t poison the minds of our youth to fit them into the same brown shirts you all wear so well.you people need to stay out of the classrooms of education of American students,who should not be hearing this distortion of the truth.they need to be instructed as to how to stop people like you from making being a communist sound like a wonderful alternative to a free constitutional nation with real rights and no limits on it’s people by you or others touting your hog wash. nice try,but way out of your own field.You are what is wrong with this nation,not the people you want to recruit by your teachings of quilt for being what we are and will be for now and forever. proud of our nation and our god givin rights .so back off screwballs.,here’s an idea,insted of preaching the outlaw of porn on the internt,how about explaining to Doris nasbitt,that a women her age wearing a skirt so short at a high school so short she was struggling to keep it pulled down so we didnt see her plumming as she sat in a chair next to her husband. while all the boy’s were fidgeting in their own seats.I am quite sure they were not hearing a thing you said but saw so much more just by the leg show.porn on the internet? lol put your $ where your mouth is..

February 28, 2010 @ 1:23 pm | Comment

Tell us how you really fell.

March 1, 2010 @ 5:51 am | Comment

Hi everyone. I heard about the Naisbitts and their claims. I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and therefore politically neutral, though certainly not politically ignorant so i share my knowledge based not on a particular partisan stand, but on the facts I am familiar with.

I would like to point out to the Naisbitts and their followers that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not able to openly preach the Bible in China due their being an actively and openly proselytizing group,and that I PERSONALLY know it is very dangerous to do so.Moreover, Jehovah’s witnesses teach their followers that obeying God is ultimately more important than obey the government when a conflict between the two arises, and that personal allegiance goes to God first and his governing laws, therefore making a threat for a government. In China the Witnesses’ Christian work of teaching the Bible is conducted underground at great physical risk for the ministers, including torture, incarceration and death.

Please let me remind you, the issue here is NOT liking JWs or not, the issue at hand is that in China the people are not free to choose how to believe and/or act on their beliefs, even though the activity involved is in itself legal and peaceful, and does not involve mistreatment of children or adults nor pornography. They can only choose to openly believe in something if it is pre-approved by the government on the government self survival approved standards.

I am convinced that this same attitude in China applies to any individuals or group that might be perceived as posing a threat to the Government. True, even in the US Jehovah’s Witnesses in particular are seen by many as an annoyance and in the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s many were arrested and beaten, but they fought in court to exercise their freedom of speech and were granted it. And so we can have this discussions on the internet today and google will not have to ‘break contracts’ in this issue :-)
So next time we see Jehovah’s Witnesses or any other group we may find annoying sharing their beliefs with someone else, count your blessing because you live in a place where, when you have something to say, you can be heard.
Please excuse my English, it is my second language. Good day to everyone.

March 7, 2010 @ 10:34 am | Comment

How did the Jehovah’s Witnesses become part of this discussion? :-)

March 7, 2010 @ 3:42 pm | Comment

Richard, you know they always come a-knocking on the doors… ;-)

March 7, 2010 @ 4:16 pm | Comment

The Peking Duck: flypaper for the lunatic fringe.

March 7, 2010 @ 5:29 pm | Comment

For what it’s worth, since some of my in-laws are ex-Jehovah’s witnesses, and received the worst kind of abuse imaginable from members of that community, I have somewhat mixed feelings about them being allowed to proselytise anywhere, but from a strict view of religious freedom they should be allowed to do so. I have far more sympathy for members of organisations such as the Society of Friends, against which even the empty and vacuous excuses of ‘avoiding foreign influence’ and ‘combating cultism’ cannot be levelled, yet who are not allowed to openly practise in China.

March 7, 2010 @ 6:13 pm | Comment

Agreed, FOARP. And for the record, I have nothing against Jehovah’s Witneses, other than finding them a mite strange.

March 7, 2010 @ 6:42 pm | Comment

@Richard
“Mad they are all mad and I am the blog administrator. Sigh!”

Just take it easy ;-)

March 7, 2010 @ 9:51 pm | Comment

@Richard
” I have nothing against Jehovah’s Witneses, other than finding them a mite strange.”

I just wondered what would happen to them if they had originated in China. Ever hear of the Falung Long?

March 7, 2010 @ 9:52 pm | Comment

[...] knew this already, of course. Baked by Richard @ 12:02 am, Filed under: Censorship, China, Human Rights in China [...]

March 23, 2010 @ 12:02 am | Pingback

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.