I like to find out stuff from different cultures--not because some other culture "has it right" but because it is interestig to see how different people solve problems differently. I would guess that the vast majority of parents around the world think hitting kids is okay, and I have observed some pretty brutal treatment of kids in other countries.
People hit and beat their kids for a lot of reasons, but not because that is the best possible way to discipline kids. They do it because it "works", it shows the kid who is boss, it has immediate effects, it makes the parent feel like they are really doing something, but mainly because that is how they themselves were raised (see TOT, etc). How many people who were not
beaten as kids decide that they should spank or hit because it is the best way to raise kids?
I have lived with poor rural parents, many of whom did not beat their kids, and it was not because of any studies by degreed experts on child behavior. They were just basically non-violent people. And these kids lived in environments that are far more dangerous than anything in the US. Electrical wires that are not insulated and electrocute people; cows, horses and dogs and pigs that attack or bite, or trample; open cooking fires everywhere; knives, machetes, axes, even the occasional gun lying around; cars and trucks and motorcycles racing by; piles of dirty trash; deep wells and pools of water to fall into.
How do people keep their kids safe without childproofing the entire country or hitting their kids to teach them safety? Simple. These kids lack almost every amenity but they do not lack supervision. There is always someone watching. Relatives, neighbors, friends, other kids all look out for the little ones. When we in the US say we have to hit to teach kids safety because, "Well, you can't watch your kid all the time" these people say, "Of course you can." Bad things do happen to their kids,
but it is almost never because they were not supervised.
One family I knew who did hit a lot--with hands, switches from trees, belts, etc, were an exception. The mom had been 13 when she married a guy who was 30, and they had six daughters. Four of the girls were very timid and cried when the parents even mentioned spanking, but still got beat. The other two girls were fearless, misbehaving right in front of the parents and stoically accepting the beating.
All of the girls grew up to repeat the mother's pattern of leaving with a guy as soon as possible (to get away from the endless drudgery and beatings?) and becoming teen moms with several kids and no future. In recent years, abandoned by the good-for-nothing boys, they have returned home to dad with their kids. (Mom left dad a while back, tired of his abuse...) And they are beating their own kids.