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Why does shortcut mentality prevail in China? (2)

(People's Daily Online)

09:45, January 24, 2013

Glance at Chinese-style street crossing [enter]

Low recognition towards rules become hotbed for shortcut mentality

Why do the Chinese people love to take shortcuts? Chen Bulei, professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law said that taking shortcuts is dictated by the human nature that wants to sow a little but reap a lot. "Everyone has the instinct to 'go after profits and avoid disadvantages'. And they always look for simple and convenient ways of doing things to reduce the cost of living and production."

Zhao Yude, associate professor at Social Development and Public Policy Institute of Fudan University said there is an increasing trend among the people in the market economy to maximize the pursuit of personal interests. Such concept became the "pushing hands behind the scene" for shortcut mentality.

The presence of herd mentality also provides a hotbed of such ideas. "Affected by the herd mentality, people tend to imitate one another. Meanwhile, the imperfect regulatory framework and the traditional thinking that the law does not punish the masses provided a protective umbrella for the shortcut mentality and lowered the risk of punishment when people bypass the rules in the pursuit of profits," said Zhao Deyu.

The reason for China to be labeled with shortcut mentality can be find in historical traditions. Zhou Yunqing, professor at Department of Sociology of Wuhan University said that for a long time the Chinese people have been following the soft ethics rather than rigid rules. Coupled with the fact that China has long been an agrarian society and farmers tend to be self-sufficient and live in a scattered way, without receiving the rigorous training of the industrial society, they lack identity for discipline and norms. "This character is still reflected in the Chinese people today," said Zhou.

"Many areas of the modern society have not developed in China for long yet. Although there are rules, but it costs time and effort for such rules to be truly established and recognized by the masses. We are experiencing a period of throes during the transition," said some experts. Zhou agrees with this view and said it is a globally general behavior psychology that people love to take shortcuts, not a unique feature to China. But the special development stage we are living in highlighted the problem.

Guo Yuhua, professor at the Department of Sociology of Tsinghua University said: "The root cause of this mentality is that in certain areas, power is still above the law." If the rule-makers do not go strictly by the rules, the masses are naturally led by the example, resulting in the lack of public awareness of the rules as a chain reaction.

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