Culture and Civilization Matters

April 5, 2010

China’s Social Relational Model and Cultural Dimensions

Filed under: Term 4 Shanghai — Tags: , , — wadatripp @ 9:39 pm

SOCIAL RELATIONAL MODEL

As has been the case in prior residencies, upon completing your blog pre-reading we ask that you provide us with a baseline on the Social Relational Model for China.

fiske rmt

For 16 centuries, China was an Agrarian society that maintained stability by adhering to Confucianism. During the last two centuries China has experienced significant turmoil. From Semi-Colonialism and Japanese Occupation followed by Communist Rule under Mao yielding to Rapid Economic Growth under Deng Xiaoping, China’s Social Relational model has likely changed significantly.

Please take the following POLL:

CULTURAL DIMENSIONS

China’s long and winding history has also forged alignment with a core set of Dimensions that form its unique Culture.

GLOBE CD

Please take the following POLL:

That’s It….YOU’RE DONE…..Safe Travels and See you all in Shanghai!

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Economic Tension: From Economic Backwater to the World’s Fastest Growing Economy

Filed under: Term 4 Shanghai — Tags: , , , , , — wadatripp @ 9:35 pm

INTRODUCTION

In the 2007 paperback edition of his book One Billion Customers, author James McGregor provides some clear insights into the economic transformation that China is experiencing.:

  • Chinese business continues to have incredible gains in world commerce. Chinese companies inhale best practices from around the globe. Six Sigma and ISO-9000 management principles are as deeply ingrained in the minds of Chinese managers now as were the slogans in Mao’s Little Red Book in their childhoods.
  • The world’s multinationals have poured into China to build world-class facilities that are critical parts of their global supply and R&D chains.
  • China has taken enormous steps to open its markets widely since joining the World Trade Organization. Foreign companies aren’t hesitating to move in where they can and gobble up market share and Chinese-owned companies.
  • While serveral hundred million people have been pulled from extreme poverty in the past three decades, the gap between rich and poor is getting larger and larger. The richest 10 percent of Chinese families now possess 40 percent of the country’s private assets while the poorest 10 percent own only 2 percent.
  • The average annual income of a Beijing resident is $2,263, while a farmer in Qinghai earns $277 annually.
  • Rich and poor in China now share the world’s dirtiest country. You can taste the putrid air in much of China, which is now home to sixteen of the world’s most polluted cities, and the rivers and lakes are colored in rainbow hues from industrial effluent.






THE RAPID RISE OF A NEW ECONOMIC SUPERPOWER

30 years ago, China was number 137 on the GDP list – just slightly ahead of Malawi. Today, China has the second largest GDP in the world. In the following video CNN’s Maria Bartoromeo interviews John and Doris Naisbitt about China’s booming economy and how it has fared during the most recent economic crisis.




IS THIS ECONOMIC GROWTH TREND SUSTAINABLE?

David Dollar suggests that the prospects for China’s continued growth are good for the next decade or so. However, as the labor force shrinks due to China’s One Child Policy and environmental degradation continues as China maintains focus on Economy over Environment, China will face issues for sustainable economic growth.




CHINA’S PRIMARY CHALLENGE IS ADDRESSING ECONOMIC DISPARITY

Jack Perkowski suggests that China’s Leadership is clearly aware of the challenge of getting the remaining 900 million poor people up the income ladder as quickly as possible to avoid the unrest that could emerge from economic disparity.





ECONOMIC DISPARITY TRUMPS ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

In his book, China Shakes the World, James Kynge suggests that Environmental Degradation is an important negative consequence of China’s rapid economic growth and the corrupt practices of local governments.




SKATING OVER THE “THIN ICE” OF SOCIAL UNREST AND ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE

As only he can, Tom Stewart succinctly summarizes the very delicate balance that China’s Leadership is dealing with as it strives to maintain sustainable economic growth.




CHINA’S ECONOMIC TRANSITION: QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Will social unrest explode in China as a result of the increasing disparity between the rich and poor?
  • Do the Chinese believe that the 30 year trend of 10% growth per year is economically and enviornmentally sustainable?
  • Do the Chinese believe that the Government should take a more balanced approach in driving economic growth while moderating environmental degradation?
  • Are the Chinese concerned about their ability to continue to access natural resources to fuel their growth? How might their “No Strings Attached” policies in dealing with trading partners create negative unanticipated outcomes for the country?

Click here to return to the China Main Page

Political Tension: From Fudalism and Semi-Colonialism to One Party Communism

INTRODUCTION

In the 2007 paperback edition of his book One Billion Customers, author James McGregor provides some clear insights into the political challenges that China faces today:

  • The conundrum for Chinese leaders is that they don’t really know what they want the country to be.
  • They just know they don’t want it to be what it used to be: a country that was so feudal that foreign powers could slice it up like a ripe melon as the Western powers and Japan did in the 1800s and first half of the 1900s.
  • They also don’t want the country to have a political system in which an untouchable dictator can manipulate the population into nearly destroying its social system and economy as Mao did from the Mid 1950s through the mid-1970s with the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution
  • They also don’t want to tear it apart with Western democratic politics which they view as an unsuitable and distorted system in which political leaders solicit votes by pushing emotional social issues that divide the population instead of focusing on what is good for national unity and economic development.
  • The Chinese leadership is basically trying to hold on to the Chinese population as tightly as it can for as long as it can before political factions emerge and bring inefficiencies that will almost certainly slow progress.






DOES ECONOMIC GROWTH CULMINATE IN DEMOCRATIC RULE?

One of the ongoing debates with regards to China is centered around the question as to whether or not a free market economy requires a democratic system of government.

For the past 30 years, China has experienced significant and stable growth of 10% per year, all the while under the rule of a single party communist system. Is this situation sustainable or is there a need for a modernization of the political system to accommodate the modernization of the economy?

Here, David Dollar suggests that every country that has reached a high GDP level has eventually become democratic.

However, here Dollar suggests that the ultimate path to democracy can be long and convoluted and that China could continue with Single-Party rule for a decade or longer.

Finally, Dollar suggests that there are many differing democratic political systems that are consistent with being a wealthy country so it is difficult to predict what path of political change China will go through over the next 20 Years.




HAS CHINA CREATED A SYSTEM OF AUTOCRATIC CAPITALISM?

James Traub suggests that China’s goal is to achieve a peaceful rise by working out the tremendous contradictions the country faces. In doing so, he suggests is that China has developed a means of economic, social and political organization that can both drive dramatic economic growth while maintaining single party rule. He calls this model Autocratic Capitalism.




IS CHINA CREATING A NEW KIND OF “VERTICAL DEMOCRACY?”

In their recent book China Megatrends, John and Doris Naisbitt suggest that China is in the midst of creating a new form of democratic governance they call Vertical Democracy where there is a balance of top down direction and bottom up initiatives where the leadership is tested by its results.

Here, the Naisbitts compare and contrast Western Democracy with this emerging social economic governance system in China.

In support of the Naisbitt’s perspective on Vertical Democracy, Mark Leonard suggests that while there is some voting at the village level, Chinese political reform will more likely involve different ways of brining the public into the political process in ways that do not involve party competition.




IS WESTERN DEMOCRACY PRODUCING SUB-OPTIMAL SOLUTIONS?

In this video Tom Friedman suggests that the Western Democratic style of governance is producing sub-optimial solutions for the major issues of our times while the Chinese governance is more purposeful and pragmatic in its approach.




CHINA’S POLITICAL TRANSITION: QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Can China continue to prosper economically without reforming its Single-Party political system?
  • Do the Chinese believe that there needs to be political reform? How satisfied are they with their current system of government?
  • How do the Chinese feel about Autocratic Capitalism and/or Vertical Democracy? Would they prefer a Western Democratic system?
  • Do the Chinese feel they have a voice in driving bottom up initiatives as described in Vertical Democracy?
  • Do the Chinese feel that their government system is delivering the desired results? Do they feel that they have recourse if it is not?
  • Do the Chinese believe that their system of Government yields more optimized solutions than a Western Democracy?

Click here to return to the China Main Page

Societal Tension: From Rural Confucianism to Urban Individualism

Filed under: Term 4 Shanghai — Tags: , , , , — wadatripp @ 9:12 pm

INTRODUCTION

In the 2007 paperback edition of his book One Billion Customers, author James McGregor provides some clear insights into the societal challenges that China faces today:

  • The Chinese leadership is very aware that the country is becoming increasingly divided into a have and have-not society.
  • For the moment, the piggish wealth and the deep poverty are living somewhat peacefully side-by-side, the tensions eased by an average 10 percent annual growth that gives almost anybody with ambition a chance to better his live.
  • But the leaders must lie awake at night worrying about the social unrest that will inevitably erupt when the boiling economic kettle settles down to a slow simmer.
  • Some 150 million migrant workers who have fled the countryside live in factory dorms or shantytowns and subsist on very basic wages and very limited access to healthcare.
  • Since the Chinese lack a social safety net, they feel they must sock their money away for retirement, college fees and unforeseen health disasters. They typically save some 40% of their income.
  • Poor children who get cancer or other illnesses are evicted from their hospital beds and sent home to die if their parents can’t pay their high-priced treatment bills in cash in advance.





RURAL AGRARIAN CONFUCIANISM

Throughout most of its history China has been a strong agricultural society defined by Confucianism, a political and moral philosophy focused on maintaining social stability through a complex hierarchy of obedience build around five key relationships:

  • Ruler to Ruled
  • Father to Son
  • Husband to Wife
  • Elder Brother to Younger Brother
  • Friend to Friend

In all these relationships the patriarchal father was center of authority and filial piety was the most important virtue for Confucianists. This piety extended beyond the local family unit where the Emperor and his officials assumed the father role for the entire country.

Confucius also incorporated the notion of four divisions of society, or classes:

  • The Scholarly Gentry
  • The Pesant Farmers
  • The Artisan Craftsmen
  • The Lowly Merchant

The combination of patriarchal hierarchy and defined social classes created a system of social stability that was well suited to the region’s agrarian economy. As long as everyone fulfilled their duties and kept their place then society remained stable and harmonious.


URBAN CAPITALIST INDIVIDUALISM

In the following video, Jack Perkowski, Chairman and CEO of Asimco, suggests that the Chinese who lived through Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution are very keen to take advantage of the economic opportunities that Deng Xiaoping’s reforms have yielded in the past 30 years.

As the number of migrant workers leaving the family farm to work in the eastern coastal cities increases at breakneck speed the Confucian system of relationships and social order is slowly being dismantled.

But at what price? Contrary to popular opinion, as Mark Leonard outlines below, although China is a communist country it does not provide a social safety net for its citizens.




IS CHINA A TICKING TIME BOMB OF SOCIAL UNREST?

Adi Ignatius, former Wall Street Journal Bureau Chief and Editor in Chief of the Harvard Business Review suggests that despite the strong economic growth there is clearly the potential for social unrest to erupt in China if the rising expectations that have been built into society are suddenly dashed.

Ignatius further suggests that the Government’s focus on clamping down to provide stability in service of the economy creates a “Time Bomb” of social instability that will ultimately erupt.





CHINA’S POSITION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE IMPACT BEYOND ITS BORDERS

In this video Ken Roth, Director of Human Rights Watch, summarizes the contrast within China where Personal Freedom is clearly on the rise while the expansion of civil society through Political Freedom remains at a standstill. Roth also outlines how these internal policies spill over into China’s foreign policy where a “No Strings Attached” approach to foreign trade is a cause for concern.




CHINA’S SOCIETAL TRANSITION: QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Following the recent financial collapse, is the current economic situation in China sufficient to quell the social unrest bubbling below the surface?
  • Do the milllions of migrant workers still feel that their life in the cities where they work is better than it was when they lived at home on the farm?
  • Are those who are left at home on the farm (mostly women) feeling increasingly removed from the economic opportunities in urban areas?
  • Is Personal Freedom sufficient for most Chinese citizens or is the need for Political Freedom increasingly on the rise?

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Exploring China’s Transitions and Tensions

Filed under: Term 4 Shanghai — Tags: , , , , — wadatripp @ 8:52 pm

CHINA’s THREE DEBATES

Just as we examined the impact of culture and civilization on England, the Middle East and India through the prism of transitions and tensions, the CCL course in Shanghai will be grounded in the key transitions that China is experiencing and the tensions that have emerged as a result.

In this brief video, Mark Leonard, Executive Director of the European Council on Foreign, relations outlines the three key debates going on in China:

  1. What Model of Capitalism Should China Embrace?
  2. What Model of Political Reform Should China Adopt?
  3. What kind of World Power Should China Become?




ANALYZING TRANSITIONS AND TENSIONS

During our time in China, we will explore how the following transitions:

  • Societal: From Rural Confucianism to Urban Individualism
  • Political:From Fudalism and Semi-Colonialism to One-Party Communism
  • Economic:From Economic Backwater to the World’s Fastest Growing Economy

Additionally, we will explore the resulting tensions that have emerged as a result of these transitions:

  • Societal: From Reliance on the Extended Family “Safety Net” to Walking the “Tight Rope” alone while supporting the family back home
  • Political: From Single-Party Rule to Eventual Political Reform.
  • Economic: Dealing with the triple threat of Poverty, Inequality and Environmental Degradation






VISUALIZING THE TENSIONS AND TRANSITIONS

The chart below summarizes the Societal, Political and Economic lenses through which we will explore the region:




DELVING DEEPER INTO THE TRANSITIONS AND TENSIONS

The following video interview with Rob Gifford, NPR China correspondant from 1999-2005 and author of China Road, provides much more nuanced context around the Transitions and Tensions outlined above.

We will explore the Societal, Political, and Economic transitions and associated tensions in more depth in subsequent pages of this blog.

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CHINA BACKGROUND: A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF A LONG HISTORY

Filed under: Term 4 Shanghai — Tags: , , , — wadatripp @ 8:44 pm

INTRODUCTION

Chronicling China’s long history is a near impossible task.

With records showing the establishment of the Xia Dynasty in the 21st century BC, China has a written history of over 4000 years. During much of this time, China was a leading nation from both a societal and economic perspective.

In this video, David Dollar provides some specific insights on how China’s past informs its present.




EXAMINING CHINA’S HISTORIC TURMOIL

For our purposes the CCL course we will focus more directly on the period where China, the economic powerhouse that invented papermaking, weaving, printing, gunpowder and the compass, lost its leadership status due to war, semi-colonialism and Japanese occupation before regaining independence and moving through communist rule to becoming the economic superpower it is today.

Key transition points during this turbulent period in Chinese history include:

  • China effectively lost its sovereignty in 1842 following the Opium War with the establishment of the Treaty of Nanking
  • Two thousand years of imperial rule ends with the Wuchang Uprising culminating in Sun-Yat Sen’s KMT party assuming power, ending the Qing Dynasty and establishing the Republic of China
  • Japanese forces invade Manchuria in 1931 followed by a full scale invasion in 1937. During Japanese occupation, KMT party under Chiang Kai-sheck looses influence while Mao Zedong’s Communist Party gains favor. With the Japanese World War II surrender in 1945, Mao’s Communist Party expands its control.
  • In 1949 Chiang Kai-shek flees to the island of Formosa (Taiwan) taking with him the entire gold reserves of China and promising one day to liberate the mainland from the “communist bandits”
  • The People’s Republic of China is formed by Mao Zedong in 1949. The ensuing Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution leave the People’s Republic of China on the verge of economic collapse.
  • The Communist Party’s Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Congress convenes in 1978 where Deng Xiaoping put in place a set of economic reforms that formed the basis for China’s renewed path to Economic Prominence with a synthesis of theories that became known as “socialist market economy.”
  • In 1989 the student protests at Tianamen Square violently put to an end by the Chinese military after 15 days of martial law. During the same year, stock markets open in Shanghai and Beijing
  • In 2001 China joins the World Trade Organization
  • In 2008 Beijing hosts the Olympics and the government announces a $586 billion stimulus package to avoid economic slowdown.





TRACKING HISTORY VIA HANS ROSLING’s BUBBLES

In this video, Hans Rosling provides an interesting, engaging and humorous description of this unfolding of events from 1858 onwards for China, India, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States

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Preparing for China: Some Facts and Figures

Filed under: Term 4 Shanghai — Tags: , , , , — wadatripp @ 8:36 pm

DIGGING DEEP INTO THE DATA FOR THE REGION
For those of you who value digging deeper into the numbers you can always check out the CIA World Factbook page for China.

Click here to access the CIA page

Another option is to scan this McKinsey presentation. While it is somewhat dated (2006), I like the way they break down the analysis of the region. It will be interesting to see how our regional briefing maps to this 2006 analysis given the recent Financial downturn.

Hint:To view the presentation in fullscreen mode click the menu button on the far left and select “View Fullscreen”.

A quick review of the CIA site and McKinsey presentation brings into stark relief the challenges we will all face as we endeavor to embed ourselves into this vast region to understand the Societal, Political and Economic Transitions it is currently experiencing.

Are you up for it? Lets GO!

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WELCOME TO TERM 4: Next Stop…..SHANGHAI

Filed under: Term 4 Shanghai — Tags: , , , , — wadatripp @ 8:35 pm

CONGRATULATIONS CCL STUDENTS!

Congratulations on completing Term 3 and welcome to Term 4!

As we move into Term 4 you cross the mid-point threshold of your CCMBA experience. It might be hard to believe, but when you arrive in Shanghai and meet with your new teams you will already be more than half-way there!


NEXT STOP: CHINA!

Our global journey takes us next to Shanghai, one of the most vibrant cities on the planet and a hub of the fastest growing economy in the world: The People’s Republic of China.




PREPARING FOR THE CHINA EXPERIENCE
This brief video should whet our appetite for the experience we are about to embark upon next month.




BLOG OUTLINE:
As was the case in London, Dubai, and Delhi, we have developed this set of blog pages with rich-media content that we believe you will find relevant to the topics we will be discussing during our time in Shanghai.

Here is the outline:

  • Preparing for China: Some Facts and Figures. Click to here view.
  • Background on China: A Brief Overview of a Long History. Click here to view.
  • Exploring China’s Transitions and Tensions. Click here to view.
  • Societal Tension: Rural Confucianism to Urban Individualism. Click here to view.
  • Political Tension: One-Party Communist System facing into the Headwinds of Change. Click here to view.
  • Economic Tension: Addressing the Triple Threat of Poverty, Inequality and the Environment. Click here to view.
  • China’s Relational Model and Cultural Dimensions: Please take the Polls! Click here to view.

We encourage you to review the contents of this blog and to post any comments, questions, or issues that come to mind as a result of having done so. Also, if you have good resources to add to the discussion, pleas be sure to include them in the Comment Section.

It is our sincere hope that we begin a robust virtual dialogue via this blog that we can synthesize during our time together at the residency.

See you in Shanghai!

Click here to return to CCL main page.

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