China 2020: How Western Business Can—and Should—Influence Social and Political Change in the Coming Decade
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.
Offering 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.