Saturday, March 20, 2010

Addendum to the Consequences of Choice

Now even when I want to move away from all this consequences, it just doesn't seem to let go of me yet. 
As I was surfing the cyberspace I chanced upon that which looks to me like like evidence of this theory but only somewhat off from what I said in my second post. I talked of the state restricting the choices of the people and controlling them. But it is equally true that it is the people who are actually driving the state towards more control. Still it exactly follows what I said in the first post.

Below are the evidences in support of my theory. They are excerpts from this article: The Scary New Rich The global middle class is more unstable and less liberal than we thought. What follows are the excerpts, followed by my own comments.
...the Brazilian middle class applauding more state control of the oil industry...
...the continuing popularity of Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin among the Russian middle class, now 78 percent of the total population...
...there's the middle-class support for the rise of conservative Islam in Indonesia...
Many of the aspiring elite seem willing to let the powers that be—whether authoritarian governments or elected ones—call the shots as long as they deliver the spoils of growth. And command-and-control states, like China, are now doing that better than suburban America.
A 2009 Pew study on the global middle class found that its members are generally supportive of democratic ideas like free speech and competitive elections. Yet experts at Pew and elsewhere say they are often willing to sacrifice those ideals for prosperity.
In Brazil and Russia, the middle classes are more worried about freedom from hunger than freedom of speech, and distrust virtually all democratic institutions.
And in China, rural people who still see little benefit from their nation's economic boom are more likely to support democracy than the urban middle classes, who now make up three quarters of the Communist Party cadres.
Even in countries that are democratic, the newly prosperous may look quite different from their Western peers. In Turkey and Indonesia, much of the middle class consists of devout Muslims who do choose to vote—and to wear Islamic headscarves. 
More Russians today support "a strong leader" over "democracy" than did 10 years ago—no wonder, given the plunge in living standards that followed the collapse of the Soviet empire. Russia's new middle class is among the staunchest supporters of the Vladimir Putin–Dmitry Medvedev continuum, for the simple reason that they have the most to lose. 
Ditto China, where the middle class was much more likely to favor political liberalization prior to the 1989 Tiananmen riots than it is today. Democracy might bring freedom, but it could also bring chaos. 
He concludes by saying
"They" have a very long way to go before becoming "us."
"They" meaning:
China, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, India, Indonesia, and other large developing nations
"us" meaning:
Washington or London, basically the west
and by becoming he implies:
liberal, democratic, market-friendly bastions not only of Western-style consumerism but also of political liberty.

He is stands on shaky ground when he says that. He implies that only the western model of everything is correct which need not be the case at all. But more important than that is the fact that even the west moves away from the western ideals as and when they see fit. 

Germans did rally behind Hitler.
More recently Americans did elect Obama whose call for greater state control in some areas made the republicans stoop to labeling him as a socialist.
Point to note is that I am not comparing Obama with Hitler, these are just examples of people opting for greater control albeit at different levels.
Switzerland baned building further minarets. 
France baned headscarves, while many islamic countries enforce them. One can say that the former is liberating while the later is oppressing. But doesn't liberating people against their wishes actually become oppression? Jokes aside, One asks to wear headscarves while the other asks not to. At the basic level both are restricting your choices approaching the same common point from different directions.

By looking at the reader comments I see few others sharing my opinions with their own examples.Here are some excerpts...

stitch999 says
How is this different - in ANY way - from the Western middle class? How are we confrontational politically? We let the government get away with more and more taxes and intrusions (including Britain not being allowed to photograph their own children), and how many people dare to say anything about it publicly?
IChamoI says
And even though these countries can???t be compared with the democratic life the west has enjoyed, we still can???t forget that the United States and the EU took undemocratic measures as a response to the ???war on terror??? (the patriot act, Guantanamo or the CCTV system in the UK). These measures couldn´t have taken place without the approval of the west´s middle classes.
Here ends my writeup. Now I leave it to you to voice your comments...
But to end on a lighter note my comment on PETA running for congress seems to have turned rather prophetic...only it is some other company instead of PETA. Check it out here...
Can a Company Run for Congress?


  1. I don't know why the formatting keeps getting askew. But I do know its not OK for Google to insert copious amount of space between random paragraphs in my blog. Bear with it guys, until I get around to suing Google ;(

  2. Looks good to me. Interesting read.

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