While looking into the Pew Global Attitudes Survey (which deserves a blog post of its own), I came across these interesting results highlighted by Pew
, with the title ‘Few in China Complain About Internet Controls
‘. This survey was conducted in 2007:
- Over four years of tracking user reaction, trust in the reliability of online content has fallen by one-half, from 52% in 2003 to 26% now.
- Only about one-third of internet users (30%) said they considered online content reliable.5
- An overwhelming number of Chinese, almost 84%, agreed that the internet should be controlled or managed.
- Since 2005, the percentage of users who say that online content about “politics” should be controlled or managed jumped from 8% to 41%, by far the biggest increase of any items tested.
It’s fair to wonder whether the survey is fully representative. After looking at the methodology in detail (pdf) (which polled 2000 urban residents in 5 cities), I think these numbers do give us at least a fuzzy picture of common trends.
This all tells me that perhaps we shouldn’t expect much liberalization online in the near future. There’s just too little popular demand for it.
[Update inserted at the end]
The U.S. Fed chairman Bernanke gave some amazing recycled remarks to the International Monetary Conference on June 3, 2008. In that speech, he offered some gems of wisdom such as:
In the financial sphere, the three longer-term developments I have identified are linked by the fact that a substantial increase in the net supply of saving in emerging market economies contributed to both the U.S. housing boom and the broader credit boom. The sources of this increase in net saving included rapid growth in high-saving East Asian countries and, outside of China, reduced investment rates in that region; large buildups in foreign exchange reserves in a number of emerging markets; and the enormous increases in the revenues received by exporters of oil and other commodities. The pressure of these net savings flows led to lower long-term real interest rates around the world, stimulated asset prices (including house prices), and pushed current accounts toward deficit in the industrial countries–notably the United States–that received these flows. … The housing boom came to an end because rising prices made housing increasingly unaffordable. The end of rapid house price increases in turn undermined a basic premise of many adjustable-rate subprime loans–that home price appreciation alone would always generate enough equity to permit the borrower to refinance and thereby avoid ever having to pay the fully-indexed interest rate. When that premise was shown to be false and defaults on subprime mortgages rose sharply, investors quickly backpedaled from mortgage-related securities. The reduced availability of mortgage credit caused housing to weaken further.
As Mike Whitney so nicely summarized for Bernanke: “It’s all China’s fault. Really.”
Whew. That’s a pretty long-winded way of saying the Chinese are to blame for everything that’s gone wrong in the markets for the last 10 months.
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