The 8 Pillars of a New Society


An analysis of economic, social and political patterns that attempts to explain the Chinese economic miracle.

John Naisbitt—who wrote the megaselling Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives (1982) and teaches economics at Nankai University and Tianjin University—founded the Naisbitt China Institute with his wife, Doris. Here they examine “China as the Chinese look at their country…[to be] open to its shortcomings, but…not judge China by our own values and standards. The authors underscore that the Chinese do not like to be lectured at, but rather learn (or copy) from the West and do it their own way. They compare China’s economic success since Deng Xiaoping’s loosening of the centralized hinges in 1978 to the stirring of a massive, amorphous, slumbering, almost-obsolete company that is finally injected with new ideas, leadership trust and vision. The eight “pillars” on which the “new Chinese system rests” include Deng’s “emancipation of the mind,” which allowed people to break from the strictures of the Cultural Revolution and return to cities, jobs, businesses, schools and individual pursuits; the Chinese “vertical” system of governance, an effective “top-down, bottom-up” structure that keeps the country’s social order in line while still stimulating reforms; new paradigms that encourage “a variety of trees to grow” in terms of political, military, economic and cultural frames; bad business being rejected in favor of good; the nurturing of an artistic and intellectual renaissance; an increased role in the global community; implementation of basic living standards for all; and resisting “hierarchical, authoritarian thinking” in favor of embracing competitiveness and innovation. In conclusion, the Naisbitts weigh in on “matters in dispute,” such as the “three forbidden T’s: Tibet, Taiwan, and Tiananmen Square.”

An intriguing look at the new China.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-185944-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2009


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