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China is becomeing economically successful, materialistic

By Theodore Terpstra
On April 30, 2014

The year was 1989, and as the Cold War was coming to a close, political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote an essay titled, "The End of History." In this work, Fukuyama theorized that the end of the Cold War proved liberal democracy to be the best system of government. According to Fukuyama, the world leaders of all nations would see democracy's success over fascism and communism as a testament to its superiority and liberal democracies would become more prevalent. As we now know, Fukuyama was largely incorrect, and according to his theory both Russia and China would become liberal democracies. While Russia experienced a significant and somewhat successful push towards democratization, China did not. Now a resurgent China is set to overtake the US as the world's largest economy. Is China's policy of state capitalism really sustainable? Or will China be forced to eventually democratize?
As China becomes more economically successful, the Chinese people are becoming more materialistic. China's auto market has surpassed the United States auto market. Almost 20 million automobiles were sold in China last year. American car manufactures, like Ford and Chrysler are opening new plants in China. The Chinese have dethroned Americans as the most materialistic population in the world, according to widely publicized market research poll taken last year. China is also the world's third largest market for luxury goods, ever since it surpassed France in 2012. Although rural areas remain poor, the Chinese middle class is growing. As people desire more products they also desire more freedom to choose. This expands beyond the freedom to choose between different brands, or competing products. The people will also develop a deeper desire to choose their leaders and representatives. Government policy and economic policy have always been closely tied, but freer economy directly promotes a freer government. In this way, state capitalist nations are unsustainable systems of government. China is already giving in to some of the people's demands. For example, China has launched a strong campaign against corruption after a few high profile cases in past years garnered enough attention to anger the populace.
Some believe that China's political system has survived the collapse of communism because the Chinese leadership has discovered some secret to staving off encroaching democratic reform. The secret to the Chinese leadership's success is China's continuous growth. As soon as the economic growth slows down, or China experiences economic hardship, the world will see how vulnerable China's leadership really is. It is certain that China's economic growth is unsustainable because China has to support a very large population that aspires to become middle class. This has been called "the Chinese Dream," a spin on "the American Dream." China also has to support growing numbers of pensioners as old workers leave the labor force. This realization has led China to loosen the one child rule in order to avoid a shortage of future workers. The Chinese economy will suffer a blow to stability in coming years.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. While Russia briefly experienced democracy before transforming into an oligarchy, China has never experienced the freedom of a liberal democracy. The future looks bright, as the Chinese become wealthier they will, theoretically, also become more liberal. China will be forced to acquiesce to the demands of its populace or face the risk of another Tiananmen Square.
 


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