China: country of contrast
Having published many books about the country, John Naisbitt and political observer Doris Naisbitt explained how China has managed to reinvent itself in such a short time.
In 1967, when American author and public speaker John Naisbitt first went to China, it was a “very primitive, very poor, pretty discouraging place.”
At the same time, being the world’s number two economy, “China’s GDP is more or less US$5 trillion [while] the US’s GDP is $15 trillion, so it will be a long time before the gap is closed,” John Naisbitt told RT, adding that on becoming number two, China will stay in this position for a long time before it ever comes close to the US.
The biggest problem with reporting about China in the Western press is “this mindset about Communist China,” John Naisbitt said, because while China has changed, the Western mindset has not and that “gives a very distorted picture.”
“This is a very modern society where there is a lot of participation of the people, The point is there is a social and personal freedom in China that has never been [there] before in the history of China, and that freedom has allowed people to contribute to the whole and to create an ever greater and more prosperous society.”
Naisbitt also estimated that China is probably “the most decentralized country in the world.”
There is a process very much in progress already which consists of a slow decline of the West and pretty fast rise of the East, he said.
The real difference between them is in thinking, believes Naisbitt. “In the West it is detailed thinking, in China it is context thinking.”
The Western mindset tracks every single detail, while the Chinese mentality is “to stay loose and adapt and adjust to the ever-changing contexts.”
“China is not universalistic and China is also a much more a group-oriented society,” Doris Naisbitt acknowledged. “An individual sometimes has to drop an interest for the benefit of the many.”
Despite China being a rich country, it has a huge population that “has not gained its share in richness,” she pointed out, commenting that about 50 per cent of the Chinese population are farmers who have mostly gained nothing from the industrialization of the country.