Chinese society is plagued by many problems that have a direct
impact on its current and future business and political
environment-worker rights, product safety, Internet freedom, and
the rule of law. Drawing on knowledge gained through personal
interviews, documentary sources, and almost two decades of visits
to China, Michael A. Santoro offers a clear-eyed view of the
various internal forces-such as regionalism, corruption, and
growing inequality-that will determine the direction and pace of
economic, social, and political change. Of special interest is
Santoro's assessment of the role of multinational corporations in
fostering or undermining social and political progress.
Santoro offers a fresh and innovative way of thinking about two
questions that have preoccupied Western observers for decades. What
will be the effect of economic reform and prosperity on political
reform? How can companies operate with moral integrity and ethics
in China? In China 2020, Santoro unifies these hitherto
separate questions and demonstrates that moral integrity (or lack
of it) by Western business will have a profound impact on whether
economic privatization and growth usher in greater democracy and
respect for human rights.
China 2020 also offers a novel vision of China's future
economic and political development. Santoro rejects the
conventional view that China will muddle through the next decade
with incremental social and political changes. Instead he argues
that China will follow one or two widely divergent potential
outcomes. It might continue to progress steadily toward greater
prosperity, democracy, and respect for human rights, but it is also
highly likely that China will instead fall backward economically
and into an ever more authoritarian regime. The next decade will be
one of the most important in the history of China, and, owing to
China's global impact, the history of the modern world.
China 2020 describes various tectonic social and
political battles going on within China. The outcomes of these
struggles will depend on a number of powerful indigenous forces as
well as the decisions and actions of individual Chinese citizens.
Santoro strongly believes that Western businesses can-and
should-influence these developments.
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