Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Pace Of Change

We live in a world that demands things to be done instantly. President Obama has just been punished for not taking the US economy out of the worst recession in recent history in less than two years. When I offer the opinion that the recovery could well take the rest of this decade, I am usually met with sheer disbelief. We want everything done now, and we expect that in others.

Of course, not all in the world march to that tune. The issue of political reform in China is one case in hand. There is much pressure from the west – principally the US, but also the European nations as well – for China to reform its political institutions. China replies that it is, but at a pace of gradual reform rather than at breakneck speed. Exactly how far things have moved can be seen in John Humphrys’ report for the BBC.

In a 30 year retrospective, Mr Humphrys reports on how much has been achieved in one generation. By comparison with 1980, China is a much more open, tolerant and pluralist society. By western standards there is still a long way to go, but perhaps the cause for political reform might be helped more by congratulating the Chinese government for what it has achieved rather than berating it for what it has yet to achieve?

Sometimes we should be a bit more tolerant ourselves.

© The European Futures Observatory 2010 

BBC News - Humphrys: 'I was wrong about China'

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