The well-known Ipsos Business Consulting firm conducted a survey for Reuter News several years ago. The survey inquired as to the respondents’ views regarding the Mayan doomsday prophecy, and compared the results from 21 developed nations.
The survey results revealed that one in five, or 20 percent of people in China, believed in the Mayan calendar prediction that the world would end on December 21, 2012. This result was much higher as compared to the survey results in the other 20 developed nations.
Approximately 10 to 13 percent of the people in Russia, South Korea, Japan, the United States, and France believed in the Mayan calendar prediction, while the percentage in Belgium, Canada, Italy, Britain, and Germany was less than 10 percent.
Some have suggested that there is a correlation between a person’s socioeconomic status (SES) and the survey results. Those at the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder may perceive the doomsday scenario as a way out of their desperate situation. Others offered up the suggestion that a person in a highly stressful environment may also be more accepting of an end of the world scenario.
The high percent of Chinese people who believed in the doomsday prediction may be represented by these two situations. Social changes, including increased socioeconomic inequality, continue to fuel high levels of stress in Chinese society. At the same time, modern lifestyles, with their strong social and time demands, have also elevated stress levels.
The urban poor in China, who are at greatest risk of severe stress due to their low socioeconomic status and modern lifestyles, may perceive a doomsday scenario as a more plausible outcome as compared to other members of society.
The post-socialist era in China, increasingly characterized by socioeconomic inequality and chronic stress, has caused many to search for meaning in a society with no moral signposts. The doomsday prophecy originated from religion, yet those in an atheist society tended to believe in it more than any other developed nation. From this, we may wonder if the Chinese people are living on the brink of doomsday scenario every day.