Tuesday, February 06, 2007

China profiled: I'm interested in constructing "personality profiles" of countries around the world, and I chose China as my first project since it is the biggest. I looked at more than 300 questions asked of citizens by the World Values Survey and listed below any where China ranked in the top or bottom 5 (of more than 40 countries). In this manner, we can see in which ways a country is distinctive. Questions covered many topical areas including domestic and international politics, economics, family, religion, lifestyle, and culture.

In the top 5

politics are important
couples should share political values
belongs to political party
government ownership should be increased
confident in armed forces, education, legal system, parliament, and social security

enough wealth can grow for everyone
important to have a strong economy and to maintain order
there should be more focus on technology

willing to fight for country
people can be trusted (probably have Chinese in mind)
have confidence in the military, education, legal system, parliament, social security

job is most important thing in life
more efficient should get more pay
materialism index

percent married
ideal family, 2 or fewer kids
kids need both mom and dad
being a housewife is just as fulfilling
important that kids learn thrift and determination
abortion acceptable for single mom, or if a women wants no more kids, or for a defect

In the bottom 5

to have successful marriage, couples should: share same religion, have good housing, live away from in-laws, have good sex life, and children
kids are hurt if mom works
approves of single moms
children should be taught religious faith, good manners, and obedience

important for work: pleasant people, generous holidays, meeting people, feel achievement, responsibility, interesting work
has a great deal of decision-making freedom
people are poor because they are lazy
competition is harmful
society should de-emphasize the importance of work

families, friends, leisure time, and religion are important
belong to a religious org, do volunteer work for one
belongs to a church
believes in a personal God
prays often
God is important in life
shares parents religious beliefs
has confidence in churches

people should have more say in government
country is run by a few big interests
confident about European community, NATO
trusts neighboring countries
trusts superpowers
wants Muslims for neighbors
society needs to: be more humane, focus on individual development, and focus more on family
approves of human rights movement
identifies first as world citizen
new ideas are usually best

thinks often about death
feels lonely or upset

Let's attempt some generalizations. China places great importance on politics and has faith in the powers that be. The Chinese are patriotic and suspicious of others. A humanitarian ethic is less developed. Work is also central, and people value merit, thrift, competition and determination (sounds like capitalists, no?). China is one of the least religious countries in the world. They value traditional family forms, but think it is good for women to work, and approve of abortion and small families. The people seem sober, practical, materialistic, and moderately contented. (Keep in mind that respondents might at times give answers they think are government-approved.)

1 comment:

  1. Socialist nationalism?

    Sounds like the personality profile of a very tough competitor. I hope to God they have prudent leaders.

    I wonder how different Germany would have come out in 1913?


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