China and its Discontents

Archive for the ‘Jottings from the Granite Studio’ tag

Mao = Gary Busey?

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In the interim we had the Mao years, which, politically speaking, were kind of like being strapped in the passenger seat of a stolen Lexus at 3:00 a.m. with your good friend Gary Busey at the wheel huffing paint and sucking down his third bottle of Goldschl├Ąger.

This is an exhortation to please read Jottings from the Granite Studio, the blog of Jeremiah Jenne, who is the academic dean and teaches Chinese history at IES Beijing, the study-abroad program I attended last fall.

Today was a gloriously sunny day in Santa Cruz, California. We took the dogs down to the beach to get a run in and then stopped for ice cream down at Marianne’s. That is also an exhortation to try out the combination of Horchata and Mexican Chocolate ice cream. The two together must be divine inspiration.


Written by Will

May 29th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Fukuyama and the Chinese Middle Class

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Francis Fukuyama once again reaffirms why he is one of the most serious foreign policy intellectuals today, crystallizing in a few sentences what most other China commentators have missed or failed to express so eloquently:

The hardest thing for any political observer to predict is the moral element. All social revolutions are driven by intense anger over injured dignity, an anger that is sometimes crystallized by a single incident or image that mobilizes previously disorganized individuals and binds them into a community. We can quote statistics on education or job growth, or dig into our knowledge of a society’s history and culture, and yet completely miss the way that social consciousness is swiftly evolving through a myriad of text messages, shared videos or simple conversations.

If Yajun’s post at Jottings from the Granite Studio was an introduction into the Chinese mindset and the functional barriers to political change, then Fukuyama’s post is the perfect combination American realist/idealist take on the Jasmine Revolution, focusing on China’s middle class. The middle class is definitely the right frame with which to analyze future political instability in China. If change does come, it will be at the hands of a large number of increasingly comfortable but not wealthy Chinese. This is especially true given that, as Fukuyama notes, the unemployment rate among college graduates in China is one of the highest in the world.

UPDATE: I’m rather surprised that my previous post on the Jasmine Revolution published in the Trinity Tripod is now leading New York Times coverage when you google “Jasmine Revolution”.

Written by Will

March 12th, 2011 at 1:52 am