Saturday, February 24, 2007

Caffeine Bomb!

I recall a fellow student at RHUL, an American, who argued constantly that this-or-that detail of Chinese economic growth meant that democracy in China was imminent and George Bush was right. So thought Thomas Friedman, whose The Lexus and the Olive Tree was at the time a set text on our course (MSc International Relations!). I still haven't read it.

So also thought Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, who said this:
No middle class is content with more choices of coffees than of candidates on a ballot.
Syntax more never, style atrocious and, tortured I see did. More seriously, what the hell did he mean? Unless I have been tragically misled, the US middle class has a rich choice of coffees and a choice between two political parties.

Even more seriously, there is a solid track-record of rapidly industrialising middle classes swinging over to really deranged politics. See Wilhelmine Germany, Austria in the same period, Japan, and perhaps some more recent cases, like the South Korean military dictatorship.

1 comment:

A.E. said...

Kristof and Friedman have always been jokes.

Democracy is no more inevitable in China than you or me marrying Scarlett Johansson. If the communist regime in China is replaced by anything, it will be by a hardline quasi-fascist nationalist dictatorship that will then start rattling sabers at Japan, South Korea, and all of its neighbors.

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