In an interview on National Public Radio, New York Times corespondent Keith Bradsher had some fascinating observations after Thursday’s demonstration by tens of thousands in Hong Kong demanding free elections.
After noting there was a “heavy representation of union activists” at the event, Bradsher said:
Many of the business tycoons [in Hong Kong] are surprisingly blunt in saying that they don’t think Hong Kong’s people are ready for democracy. They say that passing laws and regulations is too complicated for the common people, as they describe them, to be involved in. They say that the best people to make these decisions and keep this a thriving center of capitalism in Asia are them. And they have resisted greater democracy, they’ve been advising Beijing not to allow greater democracy. And they want to continue, for example, to be able to choose half the members of the legislature.
The free marketeers like to assure us that there’s an indissoluble link between capitalism and democracy. And maybe there is. Now all we have to do is convince some capitalists of that.