In order to understand how hidden motives operate in organized social systems in China, I conducted a laboratory experiment to answer three research questions as follows: Are Chinese citizens generally and state cadres (non-manual workers on government payroll) in particular rule-abiding beings? What are their underlying motives when making rule-abiding decisions? What are the sociological and political implications that can be drawn from their rule-abiding decision-making regularities? The findings form a basis to yield answers for future verification. First, the subjects were rule-abiding beings observing both formal and informal rules. Second, given the interventions, the subjects’ decision-making reflected that they had different motives when making rule-abiding decisions, fol-lowing the collective-interest-oriented logic of consequentialism, the logic of appropriateness, the self-interest-maximization logic of consequentialism, the logic of appropriateness, and the logic of practicality. And third, given that most subjects could be considered pragmatic-rational beings, the ground for building socialism is sociologically and politically shaky. The CPC leadership has to be more devoted to searching for contemporary social and political ideologies to displace the prevailing pragmatic-rational values.
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