For all the talk of traditional values in 2012 US elections, it’s easy to miss that the same issue is taking place in other countries as well. As capitalism with Chinese characteristics has matured, people there have re-discovered that the moral vacuity of the marketplace leads to severe social problems; this is the current research of UCLA anthropologist Yunxiang Yan.
But has the Chinese government gone too far now in policing television? Here’s a story from NPR that overviews the latest effort in balancing the ill effects of capitalism.
“The government led this move toward consumerism and entertainment mania,” Hu says. “They urged people not to get involved with politics, suggesting ‘politics is too dangerous, go and earn money and have fun.’ But now in China, it’s gone too far [and] we’ve amused ourselves to death and morality has almost collapsed.”
While the wording in the NPR story exoticizes the Chinese story (using words like ‘purge,’ ‘crackdown,’ and ‘propaganda czars’), we are facing the same issue here in the US (as in the Supreme Court’s examination of broadcast television profanity), as are the French in the battle over Joan of Arc between Sarkozy and the French right wing.
Watch for a globalization of culture wars, especially with the looming American presidential election. Are we back to Barber’s McWorld/Jihad?
More from Yunxiang Yan: