Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, January 06, 2014

Socialism with a Chinese characteristic: materialism

China is neither a pre-materialistic nor a post-materialistic culture. Perhaps Adam Smith was more perceptive about human nature than Karl Marx. And if Mao Zedong was right about saying that there were "two mutually opposed schools of philosophy — idealism and materialism," then China can't be classified as idealistic either.

Chinese Respondents Top Materialism Poll
A global poll of attitudes toward wealth has found what many domestic critics allege already: Chinese today are just too materialistic.

The survey was conducted by the French market research company Ipsos in September and polled more than 16,000 adults in 20 countries.

Chinese respondents topped the list in measuring success by their possessions, coming in more than double the global average, according to the results published last week. Seventy-one percent of Chinese respondents agreed with the statement “I measure my success by the things I own"…
Chinese bling

Chinese were also the most likely to agree with the statement “I feel under a lot of pressure to be successful and make money.” Sixty-eight percent of Chinese surveyed agreed with this statement…

Although large parts of the country remain poor, China now has a flourishing middle class and there are few major cities that do not boast a luxury shopping district or two. According to the research firm Euromonitor International, in 2012 China overtook France to become the world’s third-largest market for luxury goods…

The poll results should, however, be carefully weighed. Ipsos said that results from China “are not reflective of the general population” because the country’s Internet penetration rate is less than 60 percent. However… the participants in the survey are deemed to be “primary engaged citizens” with education, income and connectivity levels comparable to those in more developed countries, the company said…

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