“Puzzling and shameful reading”

Time magazine rips China’s Megatrends into shreds. Some excerpts of the review:

It is breathtaking in its simplistic, groveling and ill-informed treatment of the world’s next superpower.

….

Do we really believe that what the Naisbitts call “Chinese country music” will soon become a “moneymaking machine” simply because one peasant group’s original composition, Song of Sanitation Workers got some favorable notice in the provincial press?

….

This is a country where dissidents disappear and where the legal system can be twisted. Yet China’s brutally efficient machinery of repression and state capitalism is, in the Naisbitts’ gushing parlance, “a new form of governance and development, never before seen in modern history.” Really? Is an autocracy grimly determined to keep itself in power all that unique?

….

Ultimately, the one place this book should do well is China itself. The country’s leaders will hardly believe their good fortune at so totally blindsiding the authors, and the ever growing ranks of nationalists will lap up the endorsements of such a famous American commentator as John Naisbitt. But for everyone else, China’s Megatrends is puzzling and shameful reading.

We knew this already, of course.

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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: 16 Comments

I did not think much of Naisbitt’s book when I first read it, and decades later, I doubt if many of the trends he predicted came true. (Anyone remember any one of those Megatrends?) He made a score by coining “Megatrend”. Adding his wife to it, in China would not make him more prophetic.

March 23, 2010 @ 1:11 am | Comment

The country’s leaders will hardly believe their good fortune at so totally blindsiding the authors

They may not be surprised at all.

March 23, 2010 @ 6:03 am | Comment

Considering the history of the west, we have no legitimate right to constantly criticize China.

There is no country without sin and those who moralize all the time don’t really care about the injustice done to individuals but only to portray themselves in a positive light.

Also, why always China? Why not the injustice in Brazil, India or Russia, to name the other BRIC countries? There are many closet sinophobes around.

In my eyes most of this is just a huge proganda attempt by the US to keep China down, and you are supporting it.

March 25, 2010 @ 7:18 pm | Comment

I am not criticizing China. I am criticizing a bad book. Read through the blog and see how much I criticize the US.

March 25, 2010 @ 10:09 pm | Comment

Considering the history of the west, we have no legitimate right to constantly criticize China.

If you take history as the sole criterion, nobody would have any right to criticize anything.

March 26, 2010 @ 5:40 am | Comment

@Anonymous – A bizarre, and frankly stupid comment:

1) This is a China blog. Were this a Brazil blog, then it would no doubt be all over the various problems of Brazil.

2) This actual post is not criticising China, but criticising the version of it portrayed in this book.

3) History is no reason not to criticise anything, it is only a reason to recognise the causes of what you are criticising. The fact that, for example, sectarian violence in Northern Ireland followed centuries of sectarian violence conducted by both catholics and protestants, is no reason not to criticise any single instance of violence. Yet, on your logic, we cannot criticse anything because history does not allow us to. Your point only makes sense if you consider all countries in the world to be blameworthy except for one.

4) The same “bad news from China is US propaganda” meme that has been pushed for god knows how long. It hardly seems worth pointing out that any visitor to China can gather, off his own bat and without necessarily being influenced by US ‘propaganda’ plenty of stories of CCP wrongdoing of their own.

5) The smeering of people critical of the Chinese government as ‘closet sinophobes’, basically implying that they are all closet racists, when in fact a good number of the are simply saying what many people born and raised in China themselves say.

March 26, 2010 @ 7:47 am | Comment

Speaking of puzzling and shameful reading (or writing)…
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-03/26/content_9645034.htm

Is there a 50 Cent Party of Laowai, too?

March 27, 2010 @ 7:04 am | Comment

@ slim: The funny thing about that article is that his portrayal of Google exactly described the CCP, but I doubt the author realized it.

March 28, 2010 @ 2:38 am | Comment

then it would no doubt be all over the various problems of Brazil.

We should all take note that you can’t even think of one, your worldview is just that complete.

March 28, 2010 @ 7:18 am | Comment

@Merp – So you think that just because I didn’t write about any of the problems of Brazil, which any reasonably educated westerner could tell you about (deforestation, land reform, criminal gangs – watch City of God, corruption etc. etc.) this means I have a world-view in which . . . . well, you didn’t actually bother to say what the world view consists of, so I guess I’m free to make any wild-assed assumption I like, no?

March 29, 2010 @ 6:58 am | Comment

@Slim – Damn, that was probably the worst load of paranoid, passive-aggressive dreck that I have read in quite a long time. I know Richard has been a booster/critic of Cunningham in the past, but here’s where I simply label the guy “fruit cake” and walk on. He couldn’t even get his Shakespeare quote down right.

March 29, 2010 @ 7:06 am | Comment

That was Cunningham at his most atrocious.

March 29, 2010 @ 8:27 am | Comment

This is not exactly related, I just want to share it. You have to be able to read Chinese to understand it:

http://my.cnd.org/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=25401

March 30, 2010 @ 12:49 am | Comment

Something else I’d like to share:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/opinion/global/24iht-opednote.html?ref=global-home

March 30, 2010 @ 12:52 am | Comment

Someone else takes a swing at “Megatrends”:

http://cmp.hku.hk/2010/05/01/5926/

May 1, 2010 @ 9:31 am | Comment

Thanks for that, Stuart. Awesome.

May 1, 2010 @ 9:40 am | Comment

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