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Chinese Love Free Markets as Much as Americans Do [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-7-18 20:39:37 |Display all floors
This post was edited by ttt222 at 2012-7-18 20:39

Chinese Love Free Markets as Much as Americans Do

Dollars to doughnuts.

Chinese peopleare as likely to believe that most people benefit from a free market economy as Americans are, according to a new Pew Research Center report.

Pew Research CenterPew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, conducted in 21 countries among 26,210 respondents from March 17 to April 20, 2012. *Data from fall 2009 survey.

Three-quarters of Chinese people “completely agree” or “mostly agree” with the following statement: “Most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some people are rich and some are poor.”

That’s a decline from the share who agreed with the statement in 2010, but at 74 percent it’s still about equal to the agreement level in America, which was 67 percent. (The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points in both countries, so the difference in the two responses is not statistically significant.)

This similarity in Chinese and American responses may seem kind of nuts. China is supposed to be communist, right?
Of course, there might be some translation issues in doing cross-country comparisons, given that the survey in China was conducted in Mandarin and 15 other Chinese dialects. Maybe the closest equivalent to “free market” in the Jiangxi dialect means something slightly different than it does in English.

Let’s assume, though, that the translation was good. One way to explain why the Chinese like free markets is that China’s economy has become considerably less regulated since the 1970s. Respondents there may have a different frame of reference for determining whether markets are “free” or not.

And this illustrates one of the prominent themes across the Pew report: The change in economic activity, rather than the level of economic activity, appears to be much more salient to people when evaluating the big economic picture. They’ve already adapted to their current economic circumstances, and are focused on where things are going.

Gross domestic product per capita is six times as high in the United States as it is in China. Yet the Chinese were generally more upbeat about their own domestic economic conditions than Americans were. In China, 83 percent said the economic situation in their country was “very good” or “somewhat good,” compared to 31 percent in the United States.

The Chinese and Americans are not alone in focusing on the change in their economies when assessing their economic circumstances. This scatterplot shows 2011 economic growth versus what share of citizens in that country call present economic conditions “good,” and you can see there’s a pretty strong relationship between the two.

Pew Research Center*Percentage change in inflation-adjusted gross domestic product. Data from the World Economic Outlook Database, International Monetary Fund, April 2012.

It’s not only gross domestic product growth that seems important to respondents’ assessments of their economies. Changes in their own financial situations seem to matter too, and Chinese and citizens of other poor but fast-growing economies are much more likely to report happy news on this front:

Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, conducted in 21 countries among 26,210 respondents from March 17 to April 20, 2012.

In China and Brazil, about 7 out of 10 people say they are financially better off today than they were five years ago. In the United States, just 1 in 4 can identify with that sentiment.

Citizens in poor but fast-growing countries are also more likely to achieve what those of us stateside call the American dream: being better off than one’s parents were.

Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, conducted in 21 countries among 26,210 respondents from March 17 to April 20, 2012.

Why does all this matter? Because it’s important to keep the developing world’s economic growth in perspective, especially when those of us in rich countries begrudge poor countries their recent economic success.

China is a gigantic, fast-growing economy, which both excites the Chinese and terrifies Americans. Those knee-jerk reactions ignore the fact that China has a long, long way to go before its citizens have living standards that barely approximate what those of us in rich countries already enjoy.


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Post time 2012-7-20 19:24:56 |Display all floors
who's working over at pew? they need to be fired for presenting something that makes China look good

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