Essays /

Government Vs Middle Class Understanding The Essay

Essay preview

Government vs. Middle Class: Understanding the Middle Class’ Political Actions in China and the United States

With China’s recent ascension as a powerhouse on the economic world stage, the social structure of its 1.3 billion people is also changing to reflect this forward momentum. Chinese consumption in the realms of material goods, housing and education has experienced unprecedented growth, an essential characteristic of what many would define as the “middle class” in terms of income level and social statures. This new phenomenon in a supposedly class-less Communist regime is an enigma within itself. This enigma however has presented the Chinese Communist Party with a problem that it did not foresee: How to embrace this new class of intellects, entrepreneurs, and engineers that is single-handedly driving this economic rebirth after denouncing the same practices of the bourgeois middle-class for more than half a century. Years of economic boom have supplied this new social bloc of people with an enormous amount of political, social, and monetary capital, and many Western and Eastern scholars are curious as to whether or not “China’s middle class will become a catalyst for political democratization and social transformation in China” (Xin 2013:3). Currently however, China’s middle class has not followed the trajectory of the modernization theory towards democracy as many modernization theorists believed due to bias associated with the past. The Chinese middle class is highly dependent on the government for much of its economic prosperity and elitist status. This is in stark contrast with the reversal of roles between the American middle class and its subsequent politicization by the government. Modernization Theory

The modernization theory seeks to determine the trajectory of social changes as a country undergoes the transition from “traditional” society to “modern in terms of its economic, political and social advancements. The basic principles of the theory are derived from the Idea of Progress, which first emerged during the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, and the notion that people are capable of developing and transforming their own societies. Economically, modernization brings a “rapid advancement of science and technology, whose achievements are substantively transformed into a more productive and efficient labor forces” (Fungjun 2009:8). Production is altered to better fit the mass demand with the modes of production becoming continuous and standardized. Politically, the modernization theory conjectures that “centralized bureaucratic systems and political powers in many countries see a highly visible change,” and their political systems become more open, leading to an increase in democratic consciousness among the people” (Fungjun 2009:8). This transformative society becomes more aware of the events happening around them, making it more difficult for the authoritarian regime to rein (Tang 2011:1). Socially, society becomes more stratified into classes with population concentrating in cities with a high rate of rural to urban flow. People become more and more defined by their occupation and achievements with a high yearning for success. This new categorization of people into high, middle, and lower classes exposes the inequality that exists and subsequently galvanizes the “have-nots” against the “haves.” This galvanization is often initiated by people in the middle class, people with enough knowledge of what is happening around them and the resources to initiate the change. China has followed this model with distinct variations of its own, but it is the political modernization that has people perplexed. China’s Modernization and Middle Class

China’s age of economic prosperity came at end of the Collectivism Era with the rushing in of Deng Xiao Ping’s post-1978 economic policy of reform and opening after Mao’s death. Under Mao’s policy of equalization through agrarian distribution,...

Read more


-16 -1978 -20 -387 -44 -58 -666 1 1.3 11 123 128 13 16 18th 1950s 1960s 198 1998 2 20 2006 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 211 21st 22 267 3 303 331 34 373 374 375 376 382 39 4 42 43 46 58 6 639 653 68 7 8 81 88 90 98 abil abl abroad account achiev acquir act action activ actual advanc advantag advoc african african-american age agenda agent agrarian al align allow along alreadi also alter altitud altitudin alway america american among amount angri anita answer antithet appoint approach arbitrari around arrang articl ascens aspect assert associ assumpt attitud attribut authoritarian awar away back backbon backward bad bain basic becam becom begin behav behavior believ beneath benefit berkeley better bias billion bleak bloc boat boom born bourgeoi bring broadcast brought bruce bureaucrat busi california came campaign candid cannot cao capabl capac capit car carri catalyst categor caus central centuri certain challeng chan chang characterist chen children china chines chunlong churn citat citi class class-less clean clean-up clear close clout cogniz collaps collar collectiv colleg come commod common communist communiti concentr concern concess conclus concret condit conduct conform confront conjectur connect conscious consid consolid constitu consumpt continu contrast contribut control core cornel countri courag creation creator cultiv cultur curious current cut cycl daili danger danwei deal death decad decid decis declin deepen defin definit demand democraci democrat deng denounc depend deriv desper determin develop dickinson difficult dire direct dirti disappear discours discuss disdain display distanc distinct distort distribut district distrust divid divis doctrin domest done door dream drive due dynam easier eastern econom educ effect effici effort egalitarian elect element elit elitist els embrac emerg empir encourag encroach end engag engin enigma enjoy enlighten enorm enough enrich ensur entiti entrepreneur environ equal era especi essenti et euphoria even event ever everyon everyth evid evil exampl excit exist expand expect experienc export expos extol extrem facilit factor factori fair famili fangjun farm favor fear feel field fill film final financi find first fit flow follow forc foreign forese form formal/institutional former forum forward found founder four frighten fruit fungjun futur galvan garden generat gertei give given go golden good govern government-appoint government-control governor grandpar grant great group grow growth half hand happen hard hardship have have-not haven haze hear hesit high higher highest hike histori hit hold hollow home hong hostil hous household howev hukuo idea ident identifi ideolog idl ignor ii imag impart implement import impoverish improvis incom inconveni increas individu indulg industri inequ influenc influx ingrain initi integr intellect intellectu interact interest introduct invest issu ithaca jeffrey jie job joe jonathan joseph journal know knowledg kong korea labor last later lead least left legitimaci less level li life lifestyl line live local locat long longer loser lost lotteri low low-incom lower lowest lu lucki luxuri made madsen main maintain major make malici man mani manufactur mao maoist market mass massachusett materi matter meal meant measur medium medium-high method metropoli mid mid-rang middl middle-class might migrant migrat min mitt mobil mode model modern momentum monetari money monitor mortgag move movement mover much mysteri name natur necessari need neighbor neighborhood new newcom newli news next non non-participatori not notion obama obsess occup offshor often one open oper opinion opportun oppos order organ orient other outsid oversea overshadow own oxford p paradigm paradis parent parti particip participatori pass past pay peasant peopl perceiv percentag perfect period perpetu perplex person phase phenomenon ping place plan play pleasur plumber polici polit politic poor popul populac posit poss possess post post-revolut post-war post-world potent power powerhous practic prejudic present presid presidenti press pressur prestig prevail principl privat privileg pro pro-act problem produc product profession progress promin promis pronounc propaganda properti prosper protect provis public pure push quarter question radio rang rapid rate rather ration real realm reap reason rebirth recent recogn reflect reform regard regim reign rein relationship reli relinquish reluct remain research resent resid residenti resourc respons result retard retreat return revers revolut rich richard ride rise road rock role romney root rule rural rush sacrif salari samuel sanction save saw say scholar scienc search secur see seek seen segment self self-govern session set shaken shaker shape share show side sign signific similar simpli sinc singl single-hand size small social socialist societi socio socio-econom sociolog solac someon someth sought sourc south spatial special stage stagnat stanc standard stark start state state-control state-own static statist statur status stem step still stratifi structur struggl studi subject subsequ subsid subsist substant suburban success sudden suffer suit summon suppli support suppos suprem surmis surviv symbol system taiwan take tale tang tax tax-hik technolog tell tell-tal tension term theori theorist thing think thirti thought thus tight time tool toward trace tradit trajectori transform transit travel treat tri trickl troubl two type uncertainti undergo understand unemploy unger uniqu unit univers unpreced untrustworthi upbring updat upper upper-class upscal urban use vacuum variat vehicl veteran viewpoint villa villag visibl vs wang want war washington wasserstrom watch way wealth welfar well well-off western whatev whether white white-collar whole whose will winner within won wonder work worker workplac world would wurzelbach xiao xin year yearn yet zhang zone