…Under the current president, China has been moving towards the militant pole of Spencer’s continuum. Large numbers of people are employed in monitoring social media and maintaining the ‘Great Firewall’ to exclude and suppress knowledge and opinions that do not fit into the national leadership’s vision of a good society. This workforce is a direct, deadweight cost on the society. More importantly, if Spencer is correct, the consequences are potentially disabling in terms of the constraints on innovation and original thinking. A society that loses the flexibility that comes from unregulated thought is, as Spencer saw, ill-equipped to adapt to changing environments.
…Herbert Spencer may not be the most fashionable of the classic sociologists but there are, perhaps, still good reasons for reading his work, especially in China.
A Sage socialsciencespace blog