World Income Rankings: Chinese Earn More than Ethiopians

davos-2014-world-economic-forum

From NetEase:

World Income Rankings: China High Income Earners Comparable to South African Drivers

Summary: An American website launched a wage comparison between various countries in the world. According to the most recently released statistics by the national statistics bureau, 56,389 yuan RMB is considered part of the high-income group. This reporter entered 56,389 yuan and learned that this amount of pay is 6x that of an Ethiopian schoolteacher, comparable to the earnings of a South African driver, and just 0.00026 times the income of the Queen of England.

From the 22nd to 25th of this month, the 44th World Economic Forum was held in the small Swiss town of Davos. As the world’s elites congregated in Davos to discuss world economic trends, America’s CNN website launched a world wage comparison where on its official website, all you have to do is enter your income level and you can find out how you compare to the earnings of an Ethiopian teacher, a driver in South Africa, and the Queen of England.

According to the most recently released statistics by the national statistics bureau, 56,389 yuan RMB is considered part of the high-income group. With regards to this, this reporter entered 56,389 yuan and performed a comparison with the levels of income in other countries.

cnn-davos-global-wage-calculator-china-high-income

China high-income earners comparable to the incomes of South African drivers

According to the most recently released statistics by the national statistics bureau, the average total income of urban residents in 2013 was 29,547 yuan. Among them, people of the the high-income group could earn 56,389 yuan, people of the middle-income group could earn 24,518 yuan, and people of the low-income group could earn 11,434 yuan.

To compare incomes in China with those of other countries, this reporter selected the China region on the CNN website, entered the number 56,389, and after the website performed the comparisons, learned that this level of pay is 6 times that of an Ethiopian teacher, comparable to the earnings of a South African driver, and is 0.00026 times that of the Queen of England.

cnn-davos-global-wage-calculator-china-high-income-results

Middle-income group people can earn 24,518 yuan, which is 3 times that of an Ethiopian teacher, comparable to that of a janitor in Thailand, and is 0.00011 times that of the Queen of England.

cnn-davos-global-wage-calculator-china-middle-income-results

Low-income group people can earn 11,424 yuan, which is comparable to that of an Ethiopian teacher’s wages, half the wages of a janitor in Thailand, and 0.00005 times that of the Queen of England.

cnn-davos-global-wage-calculator-china-low-income-results

World’s Minimum Wage Rankings: China 17th Place

The world wage level report released in 2013 by strategists for technology company ConvergEx show that mainland China is ranked 17th, with a minimum wage of 0.8 USD per hour.

Among the rankings, Australia was at the top of the rankings with 16.88 USD per hour. Ranked at the top were mostly developed countries, with France placing second with a pay of 12.09 USD per hour, and New Zealand placing third at 11.18 USD per hour. Outside of this, the United Kingdom and Canada also successfully placed in the top five. Japan was above the United States with a high pay of 8.17 USD, successfully surpassing the “median” of the United States. Te minimum wage of the United States was ranked 7th in the world, considered to be among the medium range.

the BRIC countries were ranked near the bottom, with mainland China ranked 17th, with a minimum wage of 0.8 USD per hour.

The actual lowest minimum wage was Sierra Leone, where the per hour wages of the workers there is just 0.03 USD.

Shocking wealth gap

The 44th World Economic Forum was held from the 22nd to 25th in the small Swiss town of Davos, and on the eve of the forum, the “2014 Global Risks Report” was published, which assessed the severity, probability of occurrence, and potential impact of 31 global risks, and concluded that increasing long-term wealth disparity is the risk that is most likely to cause serious global harm in the upcoming ten years.

As indicated earlier in the “2012 Global Risk Report” published by the World Economic Forum, severe wealth disparity and unstable government finances are the greatest threats facing the world economy. Even now, increasing wealth disparity is producing wide-ranging effects on the world economy.

According to a new report from Oxfam, the total wealth of the world’s 85 richest people is equivalent to the total property possessed by the world’s 3.5 billion poor population.

With India as an example, over the past 10 years, the number of rich people with over 1 billion and up grew from 6 people to 61 people, collectively holding about 250 billion USD in wealth. The report claims: “What is shocking is that the percentage of assets controlled by the minority of elites increased in India from 1.8% in 2003 to 26% in 2008.”

A Story of Pay

The difficult lives of the post-80s generation in Italy

In Italy, the unemployment rate of youth between 15 and 24 years old has reached a record-breaking level of 40.1%, while the number of people aged 55 and over who are still working has increased from 2.8 million to 3.5 million in a short 5 years. Italy clearly isn’t considered a country of youth. Over the past 10 years, nearly 4 million university graduates have left Italy, while only 50,000 foreigners of the same level of education have come to Italy.

Young Italians leaving the country to find work sometimes face enormous risks. 20-year-old waiter Joele Leotta moved from Lecco of the Lombardy region to the town of Maidstone southeast of London in the UK, only to be beaten to death by a group of Lithuanians, who accused Leotta of stealing their jobs.

The average wage of Italian “post-80s generation” is about 1000 EUR per month (approximately 8350 yuan RMB), and as a result, media has jokingly referred to them as the “1000 Euro Generation” [“Generazione mille euro”]. This little amount of pay is not enough to allow them to get the bank loan [mortgage] necessary to purchase a first home.

Comments from NetEase:

怀念我的母校美国耶鲁大学 [网易上海市网友]:

I’m an American working in China and I can tell everyone that taxes are high in the United States, but the social safety nets are perfected [more complete]. Medical care, education, elderly care/retirement, none of them require the people to worry about. And when it comes to housing and cars, the prices aren’t very high. Therefore, they don’t need to spend all their time and energy making money like people in China yet still be unable to spend that money.

网易重庆市网友 网易重庆市网友 ip:59.53.*.*:

So we’ve truly accomplished making wages like those of Africa, prices like those of Europe, and social welfare like that of Antarctica.

我用脚投票 [网易加拿大网友]:

The minimum wage here in Ontario is 10.25 CAD/hour, which is probably equivalent to 119,000 RMB/year.

制度是中国所有问题的根源 [网易英国网友]:

According to 2010 United States standards, if a household of four has 22,314 USD (about 61 USD per day) in income, they can be considered part of the poor population, Calculated by number of persons, this is an average of 15 USD per person. This standard is 15 times higher than China’s.

一贴流芳 [网易河南省南阳市网友]:

The books say everyday that capitalist countries exploit the working people, that the labor force is cheaply priced [. However, I’ve discovered that the vast majority of our households can earn a year’s worth of money and still be afraid of going out for a vacation, while in America and the UK, even the janitors and whatever have petit bourgeois lifestyles.
After all this time, of saying how other people exploit the working people, it is instead the other way around. It is us who are the biggest fucking 2B, the most TM cheaply priced.

网易上海市网友 [毛澤東是上班族的大救星]:

In my parents’ generation, there were large pots of food [communal kitchens/dining], no overtime, and while the wages weren’t high, prices were very low, social welfare good, housing provided by the work units [employers], medical expenses low, and the happiness coefficient high.
In our generation, the basic salaries are low, we have to do overtime all the time, wages don’t increase yet prices increase wildly, we can’t afford to get medical care, there’s no hope of buying a home, you can buy a car but can’t afford to burn the gas so you leave it at home, while you treat your own small illnesses and dare not treat the large illnesses, and while an education is on the surface not expensive, you have to spend money on all sorts of hidden things because after all, no matter how poor you are, you can’t scrimp on education, right?! So there’s no extra money to be filial to your parents, and your parents even need to subsidize you with their money. I haven’t had a feeling of happiness in so many years now!

dwb111222 [网易浙江省网友]: (responding to above)

The feelings of happiness are all in Xinwen Lianbo, where the people are all covered in smiles beaming with happiness.

xuesong83 [网易湖北省襄阳市网友]: (also responding to 毛澤東是上班族的大救星)

Fuck, just seeing about a cold cost me 800. When I saw the doctor, he didn’t ask me anything but simply gave me a lab test form, told me to go get a blood test, and that we’d talk after getting the results first.

天使是山东人 [网易北京市网友]:

Lang Xianping: “Add up all of the wages and income of the country’s people, divide it by the country’s GDP, and you’ll give a number: Europe and North America are the highest, about 55%. South America averages 38%. The Philippines and Thailand are 28%. Iran and Turkey are roughly 25%. All the African countries are 20% and lower. 90% of the people are saying our country is on the same level as Africa, but you people are simply too optimistic, because let me tell you, our China is 8%. The world’s lowest!

网易湖南省娄底市网友 ip:42.49.*.*:

The so-called second in the world in GDP, where over 5000 is considered high-income, talk about making other people’s bellies hurt with laughter. Most first-tier city civil servants exceed 5000. A home in a first-tier city is 10 million, and even in a county seat, buying a home means 10 years without eating and drinking, and that doesn’t include renovations/furnishings. It truly is hard to live in the Heavenly Kingdom.

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  • chandlerpatrick

    Interesting. I’m also interested in seeing the numbers between the gap of wealthy and poor. Say those with over 1 000 000 salary per year, and those with less than 10 000.

  • nqk123

    let face reality. sooner or later, most of our jobs will be replace by robots/machines automation. people with high technical skills will be hire for the few new jobs available, and the rest of will be unemployed. if you think earning a living is tough right now, just wait for another decade or 2.

    • Raymond Ngu

      Probably, but there are still jobs that only hands can do. If somehow all jobs were to be replaced by machines, then there would not be a population with money to buy the products these machines make. So a balance must be met.

    • mr.wiener

      It could get ugly.

    • linette lee

      Jobs that are being replaced by machines or robots will be replaced by new jobs with new skills. New skill is needed to maintain those machines and robot. YOu need factory workers to build and program those machines. Jobs that are outdated replace by new update jobs. Same shxt.

      • nqk123

        here lie the problem. as we continue to innovate. do we actually needs as much factory workers/programers as we do now. will there be enough new jobs to replace the old one?

        • Anjing

          Read about the Luddites. This argument is as old as the Industrial revolution. Remember how everyone said Computers would replace office workers? Yeah, like the exact opposite happened. It’s all creative destruction.

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            Machines are, at the moment, good at doing monotonous tasks. They do it faster, quicker and rarely need a break in doing it while never getting tired.

      • JankyFosci

        The problem is that technology replaces jobs more than it creates. There’s been many studies on this. 10 guys design a factory machine that replaces the entire line of 50 workers. This concentrates wealth even more.

    • Zappa Frank

      This seems a Luddism way of thinking. It will not turn like that as it didn’t before.. But of course future jobs will require more skills and higher education

      • nqk123

        you need an extreme view to get people talking. i noticed over the years many businesses integrated more techs as a way to reduce their work force/costs. this might be a possible future.

        • Anjing

          Yeah, and the integration of these new techs has invariably resulted in a swathe of new jobs being created, not all necessarily super skilled.

    • Repatriated

      Not gonna happen soon in China. If you’ve ever been there, you probably would have noticed that when a hole needs to be dug…shovels come out, not a machine.

  • David

    Thanks for the article Fauna.

    Best comment “So we’ve truly accomplished making wages like those of Africa,
    prices like those of Europe, and social welfare like that of Antarctica.”

    • ex-expat

      And sadly, in many ways, not far off from the truth.

    • Stefan Xu

      This is exaggerating it too far, prices are certainly not as high as in Europe. In China everyday things such as food and Chinese goods such as electronics, clothes and cars are much more cheaper than in Europe. When I lived in Shanghai I spent less than 10k RMB including rent living quite comfortably. Yes foreign products are expensive but if you stick to the Chinese it’s cheap.

      • Jahar

        The whole point of exaggerating is to go too far…

      • Guest

        Cars in China are not as cheap.

        • Cynic-Al

          Sure they are. I drive a three-wheeler near the train station.

        • Stefan Xu

          Foreign cars not cheap, but Chinese cars are. They are many brands that make 4 seather sedans for around 50k-150k RMB range.

          • markus peg

            I read somewhere about 2 years ago that Chinese cars are popular in Africa. Not all but a lot of the frames of those cars crumble easily, most probably wouldn’t survive an accident.

            EDIT: why did you change to a troll display picture, the one before was better. Don’t give in to peer pressure Stefan.

          • Brad pitt

            For the same price you could get so many great second hand cars in the west that would outlive a new Chinese car… In the 50k-150k RMB range you can even get some basic, new Japanese/American cars if that’s your thing. Realistically, driving in China is a waste of money though.

          • Stefan Xu

            Yeah, but why is driving specifically a waste of money in China? I mean if you plan to live in China for a long period it is about as expensive to own a car as in the west.

          • Brad pitt

            Well, Taxi/hei che are so cheap in China. You could pay someone else to drive you for much cheaper than owning a car. On top of the expense, parking is a nightmare in China… And believe me I hate the fact that i have to own a car in the west too! Cars in general are a money pit… but where I live it’s a necessity. If public transportation/taxis were as cheap as in China where I live I would sell my car too!

          • Dick Leigh

            Hei che? Have you ever actually ridden in one? Every single chinese person warns me never to get into one.

            I only did once, with a friend, because the couple (man and his pregnant wife) were nice and not pushy at all. Still, I don’t think I’ll do it again.

          • Stefan Xu

            I rode hei che every day , even more than real taxis. In total I have ridden hei che maybe 100+ times in many cities. No problems.

          • Terrik

            I live in Anzhen in Wuxi. There are ONLY black taxis out here. They’re a mixed bag. Their prices are ridiculous and they often try to cheat, but usually if you’re fairly firm, you don’t have to fight. Oddly enough, the actual ‘real’ taxis out @ east station are the biggest bunch of jerks I’ve ever had the mispleasure of having to deal with. One of them called my fiance a bitch for having the audacity to get driven to a location “only” 7km away.

          • Brad pitt

            Well, when I lived there I hung out with mostly Chinese people rather than other foreigners. One of my friend’s friends drove a hei che and lived in the same area as me so I would just call him whenever i needed rides and if he wasn’t around I would just take taxis.

          • ex-expat

            It depends where you are maybe. I took them a lot in Beijing, and other than price gouging, there weren’t really any problems. I have heard stories though.

          • Repatriated

            Chinese cars are a perfect example of “you get what you pay for”. Chinese cars are shit quality…and death traps. Even the QQ, which is a cheapened copy of a Chevy Spark is made at a FAR lesser quality level, and merely a speed bump for most western (or even Japanese) cars.

          • Stefan Xu
          • Repatriated

            That car is an attempt at a Toyota or Nissan copy, and is garbage, regardless of how it looks. You know as well as I do that every corner that could be cut…was cut. I’d bet that car’s safety rating would be 1 star if it were actually tested in a worldwide arena.

          • Stefan Xu

            Changan Raeton actually is as safe as the BMW 3 in the C-NCAP test.

            http://www.wautom.com/2013/07/baic-shenbao-changan-raeton-even-safe-as-bmw-3/

            Right now almost all new Chinese car models have at least 4 stars rating.

            http://www.wautom.com/category/crashtests/

          • Zappa Frank

            the chinese cap says that chinese cars are safe… we should compare it with the result of the euroncap test. i have some doubts that a chinese car is safer than a bmw, but i’m a european and a chinese may think the opposite..

          • Repatriated

            Not a chance in hell that I’m gonna believe any statistics provided by a Chinese site. Sorry man, but I guess I’m a realist.

          • LaoShu

            Looks and surviving an accident are 2 different pair of shoes …

          • LaoShu

            You gotta be suicidal !

          • hess

            Even foreign cars made in china are way cheaper than the cars we got in sweden, a new passat for 220k rmb? Cant find that in sweden.

      • Zappa Frank

        stefan it was obvioulsy an hyperbole , or you think he really meant also that welfare is like the one of penguins?

      • Repatriated

        Electronics (computers, cameras, etc are usually 10% more expensive in China. Look at the prices of even Intel CPUs if you don’t get it.

        • Dick Leigh

          Unless they’re made in China electronics, then they’re okay priced. Only thing is, the software on chinese hardware is usually horrendous.

        • Stefan Xu

          I was talking about Chinese brands. Like Lenovo and Huawei.

        • Zappa Frank

          electronics are not more expensive in china, but usually more cheap in US. In europe prices are a bit higher than in china a bit more than in US… so that many EU tourist like to shopping electronic stuff once in US

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            I can buy better spec PCs or Laptops in London than China. Which says something about prices here, as the Prices in the UK are generally between 30-50% more than the US.

          • Rick in China

            I think the point is that when you purchase import products (including foreign brand hardware) it’s certainly expensive in China, but when you buy the China brand equivalent in spec (altho often not quality……) it’s often reasonably cheap.

            That being said, lets take a benchmark product to compare: Apple Macbook Air? Just picked one randomly.
            http://www.apple.com/uk/macbook-air/ (base 849gbp, converts to approx 8600rmb)

            http://www.apple.com/cn/macbook-air/ (base 7088rmb)

            I’m sure you can cherry pick specific examples of electronic combinations that end up cheaper in GB, but in general with the VAT electronics is expensive as shit there too.

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            Electronics are expensive in the UK, I know. I wouldn’t use Apple as a benchmark. They are one of the companies that charge more for their products in the UK than other places.

            Let’s look at Lenovo. I could probably buy a decent spec one from Amazon.co.uk for slightly cheaper (some could be up to a 100 quid cheaper) than the same or similar model and spec here (looked online and in the stores). I’ll get some links up later because I got to dash.

            But I agree about quality – you get what you pay for there!

        • hess

          Im pretty sure stefan is comparing prices to sweden, and electronics are way, waay cheaper in china than in sweden

      • Rick in China

        Stefan you’re right in some ways. Pricing in China is like this:

        Poor people can survive on low incomes. Rich people can survive on high incomes. There are ‘cheap’ necessities available to allow pretty much everyone to squeek by in life, including with some ultra-cheap knockoffs of luxury goods. However, if you want anything authentic that goes beyond the necessities in life, the price is often astronomical in relation to buying it overseas in *many* places….although not all of course. Buying common things: toothbrush & toiletries, tissues & vegetables..it’s all very cheap here compared to most places. Buy any foreign brand of clothing or accessory, vehicle or electronics, and the price is often the same as the higher VAT/tax countries or more, although not often the *most* expensive in the world. Most popular goods internationally show the pricing around the world for the same product, google can provide these results, China isn’t usually #1 but is often in the top 5 rankings for popular int’l goods.

        • David

          True. I would say for foreign goods (including food) I pay in China about what I pay in the U.S. Of course, the average income in China is not the same as the average income in America so it seems if a Chinese person wanted to buy American goods he would pay 4-5 times what he would pay for a Chinese equivalent. That is fine if your rich and spending 20,000 RMB a month is nothing.

          • xiaode

            I am not sure about American goods, but I can tell you that German goods (especially food) are much more expensive in China than back home….

            Basically I would like to say that all quality goods are much more expensive in China then abroad.
            …. I was really thinking quite a while, but I can´t find / remember any real high- / top- quality-product I would buy in China because it´s cheaper here.

            Maybe one of you have an idea…?

          • ex-expat

            It depends on what you buy. Certain things are far more expensive.

      • David

        It was a comment by a Chinese gentleman so blame him if you disagree. However, considering the average income in China is 2000-3000 RMB I think he has a point. Instead of 10K, if you had to live on 3K would it have been so nice for you?

    • You’re welcome! :)

  • ex-expat

    WOW! What a stupid post.

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    Wow, I can really see the connection…when I’m stoned off my ass.

  • markus peg

    I’m 0.00139 x UK Queen & 31 x Teacher in Ethiopia

    So how much does the queen earn a year and how many Ethiopian teachers would be be equivalent to her earnings?

    • Surfeit

      I’m not sure how they calculate the Queen’s ‘earnings’. Most of what she gets is free.

  • markus peg

    The link to the site being used in the topic.You can view your earnings here:
    http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2014/davos/global-wage-calculator/index.html

  • Southwestern European

    Why is the driver in South Africa white, the farmer in Guatemala blond, the Finnish woman brown-haired and the health professional in Greece dark (and remarkably darker than a *street cleaner* from Thailand)?

    Perhaps they should as well have depicted the Queen of England black or reptilian-green for the sake of political correctness slash ignorance.

    This reminds me of the “Wine museum” in Turpan, Xinjiang, where you can go through a garden with wooden carved planks each one of which represents a wine growing country. The one for Tunisia is a big black woman with her tits out, carrying a basket on her head. They probably baidued “Africa” on “Baidu images” and took the first pic, assuming it would validate as a Tunisian woman.

    I thought the guys from CNN would have a better idea than Chinese given their access to Google and free information, but it seems their level of cluelessness when it comes to knowing basic world facts is similar, lol.

    • moop

      while your chinese example is borne of ignorance, cnn is driven by something just as sinister: political correctness

      • Rayna

        yes, having to think about how media representations impact disenfranchised minorities IS SINISTER and EVIL

  • Wodowsan

    The gap between rich and poor should not be the standard. It is easy to make everyone equal, just make everyone poor.
    What is important is the standard of living for the majority of people, with a safety net for our poorest. I do not care how many yachts and private jets the wealthy may have, as long as the vast majority of the people can have an income where they can have the comforts of a modern life;a good home, good food, clothes, education for their children, healthcare, and enough for the simple pleasures of a modern life.
    The poor in America live better than the wealthy of the past ever did. In comparison the poor in America have much better medical care, indoor plumbing, heat and air-conditioning, mobile phones, cable or satellite TV, and many even have cars. They have on their phones and home computers access to more information and entertainment than the richest and most powerful nobles of the past could have every even dreamed of.
    The problem is these uber-rich are getting richer while the standard of living for the middle class is declining. Let them get rich, but the high tide should be raising all boats in the harbor, if it is not, then there is something wrong with the system.

    • Brad pitt

      Even with all these luxuries, the system is still wrong because it drives consumerism. As long as we are addicted to keeping up with the Joneses. We will not have true happiness. I think it’s evident that although technology has made our lives more convenient, it hasn’t brought us a wealth of happiness. We need a system that can take care of the basic needs of all people on Earth while it’s goal is not based in consumerism/profit for people to truly become happier.

      • Wodowsan

        Since you oppose modern consumerism, do you advocate returning to subsistence farm life, without electricity , having to maintain a wood burning hearth all day, washing clothes on a rock in a river, going to an outhouse in the middle of a cold and stormy night, spending your days pushing a plow behind an ox, horse, or mule, not having modern medicine which led to one out three women dying from childbirth complications, being forced to have twelve children so maybe two will make it to adulthood? Would you rather not have modern communications and live in a society where even having a book was considered a luxury? Or are you even suggesting we should have never ventured down from the trees and sparked our first fires?

        The industrial revolution, capitalism, and consumerism have created jobs and has generated much better life for more people in the world than any other system. People moved to the cities from the farms for a reason. On a farm one could slave a way for months and then one night a freak frost or a week or two of no
        rain, or too much rain and all your labor is gone. At least if one had a job in a factory you had money at the end of the week to buy food. Why do think so many Chinese are wanting to move from the farms to the cities even today? Are the factory owners, going out to the farms, putting them in chains and dragging
        them to the cities?

        If you oppose consumerism, why are you even using a computer and the electricity it needs to power it, along with the satellite system, and modern optical fibers that make up the internet so you can post your comments?

        Even Bono has finally come out and stated that it is capitalism that has taken more people out of poverty.

        Actually my comment was that we shouldn’t give a damn what others have. We should though care if the standard of living for many is declining.

        Keeping up with the Jones, is having envy for what others have. I do care how many yachts another person may have, at least by him buying those yachts he is creating jobs. People need to design the yachts, build the yachts, maintain the yachts and to crew the yachts. Better than the government taking the money and making warships and drafting its young men to crew those warships.

        Have you ever enjoyed being out on a boat? I have, I had many neighbors that had owned small pleasure craft. It is very relaxing and enjoyable why to spend a summers day. My family never owned a boat, I never condemned my neighbors for having one.
        But I do want to live in society where I do have the opportunity to own my own boat someday, and let my friends and family enjoy the same experience my neighbors gave me when I was growing up. Is there anything wrong with that?

        • Brad pitt

          Nice reply, I don’t oppose capitalism , technology and consumerism as a whole, more so a culture so focused on consumerism. I grew up somewhat well off (so yes I have been on a boat, my family has a yacht) and As moop says below I use quite a bit of technology myself. I just feel that a lot of people in this world have taken consumerism to an extreme and when I see the way people are unhappy/stressed working their ass off to fund their terrible spending habits and pay off all their debt they have accumulated on useless junk it makes me sad.

          • Wodowsan

            I understand your meaning. In many of the courses I have taught in universities in America, Taiwan, and China I would often ask my students this simple question:

            As a child which set of parents would you wish to have?

            1) Your parents are extremely wealthy, you live in a big house with a swimming pool, have expensive cars, a boat, even a private jet. They can buy you whatever you want, but they clearly do not love each other. They fight all the time, and both have lovers on side.

            2) You parents are very poor. They can provide only the basics; food, some hand-me-down clothes, and roof over your head that leaks when it rains too hard. But your parents clearly love each other very much.

            Of over 5000 students in my career I had only one Mainland Chinese male at a medical university tell me he would choose the first pair of parents. Everyone else no matter their nationality, age, or sex, always chose the poor parents that love each other.

            Too many of us have forgotten what is really important in life. Too many do think, things and wealth will bring one happiness. Just look at how many rich and famous people self destruct with drugs, alcohol, and even suicide. How many Hollywood Marriage make it even close to the seven year itch mark?

            Consumerism though I do not think is the problem, it is materialism. Money and things should never be more important than love; Love of family, love one’s profession or career, the love and passion of a spouse, and for many the love of one’s faith.

            I remember dating many women in China. It seemed most, not all, women 28 and up would declare to me that they were “practical” and on our first date would ask me these questions:

            1) What country are you from?
            2) Do you own your apartment?
            3) Do you own a car?
            4) Do you own a house in your home country?
            5) How much do you make per month?

            I would answer them honestly and they would reply that I did not have enough money for them.
            I would tell them “I understand why you cannot find love.”
            “Why? ” They would ask.
            “Because you are not looking for love, you are looking for a business merger.”
            In Taiwan and in China I had many of my female students tell me that their mothers would tell them not to marry for love, to marry for money.
            I asked them if their mothers wanted them to be prostitutes?
            They would say “No, but they should marry for money not love.”
            “Sounds like a prostitute with just one customer, but it is still a prostitute.”

            Materialism I think is what you are objecting to. Not the market place, not consumerism. Every time you go out to buy food you are a consumer.

          • Brad pitt

            You are right! My mistake, although I’m sure you can see how the two are so closely related and how I would arrive at that choice of word.

      • moop

        as he types from his mac book air while fubbing on his smartphone sitting in a startbucks

        • Brad pitt

          Once you have experienced those things, they are of course hard to give up. You grow accustomed to the convenience, so much so that it is just… regular, nothing special. Example, one of my friends growing up’s family was pretty wealthy, her parents bought her a BMW 330ci for her 16th birthday. By the time she was 17 she was complaining about how shit her car was and how she wanted a porsche. If her parents later bought her a honda I bet she’d have cried.
          oh, And fuck STARTBUCKS ;). don’t get me started on them…

          • moop

            Fuck you Brad Pitt~~~~~~~ (hope you get the reference)

          • Brad pitt

            My favourite show =D

  • YourSupremeCommander

    What a stupid title. We all know the Atlantic has more water than my bathtub.

  • Hugh G. Rection

    China: Sprinting past Ethiopia. Look out Central African Republic!

  • Lone

    And these are the richest people of China: http://www.plushasia.com/media_photo/27701

  • Brad pitt

    Aren’t most systems (governments, rules, structures) not put in place for the goal of bettering the lives of the people following them? Bettering their lives meaning giving them happier lives? Don’t you vote for the political parties that you think will bring you a happier life? I don’t see how technology is not made to make us happy, as you said it makes things more convenient which in turn should make us happier right? You buy things that you think will bring you happiness. Having a dish washer saves you time from hand washing to give you more time to do what you want right?
    Although I am a bit of a hippy I definitely don’t condone some prancing garden of eden bullshit. I just think where you are saying people choose to base their happiness on what they have, I would say people are being conditioned to do so. As you said there are plenty of poor people around the world that are very happy and they probably live in more secluded places where they aren’t exposed to as much consumerism.

    • Rick in China

      Are you implying that you are so weak and lacking in will power or self awareness that your happiness is dependent upon the government creating a system that enables you to be happy, or based on the marketing methods companies expose you to, or based on technology that who knows builds and pushes out there for you to buy? If so, I’d say that’s unfortunate and if not, my point has been made.

      I think our problem is where we define terms. I don’t think the words “better life” and “happy life” are exactly the same. I do think government should provide physical infrastructure required for our modern lifestyle and risk-aversion in regards to what we consider ‘basic necessities’, ie. social security nets for less fortunate people during hard times and food safety/security so people don’t starve if shit hits the fan in some way, you may call that “happiness” but I don’t. Sure, a hungry bellied person is likely more content than someone who is starving and gnawing their own fingers off…but happy? They can’t provide happiness, they can only facilitate scenarios where it’s easier for people to be happy. I expect the gov’t to provide risk aversion and stability for the masses, not happiness.

      • Brad pitt

        Yes we all have will power and self awareness but, To me your first paragraph definitely underestimates the power of marketing. I myself have been weak to the allure of shiny things such as watches etc… I’m sure you have too. The general population is just buying useless shit then complaining they are broke… I’m not sure where you are from but the average household in Canada(where I’m from) has much more debt than they really should, I think it’s somewhere around 25k not including mortgage(but don’t quote me on that). We as a society have been conditioned to buy buy buy, hell I work in the auto industry and find it absolutely ridiculous how people trade in their cars every few years financing more debt. Then the same people will complain when they don’t have money to retire etc… If people could learn to consume less, and save for a rainy day they would be much happier. PEOPLE ARE WEAK, they spend on wants more so than their needs. Then financial insecurity makes them unhappy. Our education system has failed to teach them the basics of money/economics and instead and I believe purposely left the average person in the dark to perpetually consume useless bs and create more debt.

        It always shocks me when I talk to friends who make much more money than I do and find out how little they have saved…

        • Rick in China

          I grew up in Victoria. I’m not denying debt, I’m saying it’s not up to the government or anyone else to tell people to save, it’s up to us all to be self-deterministic in what makes us happy and finding that out for ourselves, and if we fail to do so then that is our own burden to bear. Many people are weak, yep, but it’s not up to the government to create a nanny state that protects us from our own weakness, that’s a horrible Orwellian nightmare, which I think we’re already heading down the path towards anyways.

          In regards to the anecdotes on consumerism, personally, I’ve spent a lot of money on useless things, but also spent a lot of money on amazing experiences (namely travel). My happiness is not based at all on whether I’m financially flush or not. Financial life isn’t just about *saving*, it’s about being able to scale expenditure to match income, and focusing on everything *but* money. Money naturally comes when you focus on self-improvement, because there will always be companies/people willing to pay for skilled services. Those who chase the dollar as a top priority are the ones who, ironically, often end up with none.

          • Brad pitt

            Although we can’t agree on our politcal views( let’s just agree to disagree) I totally agree that “Money naturally comes when you focus on self-improvement, because there will always be companies/people willing to pay for skill” We should never stop bettering ourselves.

  • Kai

    Nah, your opinion isn’t crazy (though you seem to be wedded to characterizing China as “communist”). Slight quibble: Those other countries became innovators and began making high quality products. They didn’t start that way so that might help put China’s current situation in a more realistic context.

  • sfphoto1

    “Medical care, education, elderly care/retirement, none of them require the people to worry about.”

    Healthcare, elderly care, retirement housing are extremely expensive in the U.S.A. China wins hands down on all these labor-intensive tasks including childcare which tends to be the shared responsibility of the extended family.

    “And when it comes to housing and cars, the prices aren’t very high.”

    This is generally true. However, Chinese housing outside Tier-1 cities are still reasonable when compared to other Asian cities and Chinese branded cars are cheap.

    “Therefore, they don’t need to spend all their time and energy making money like people in China yet still be unable to spend that money.”

    This is false. Americans have a habit of spending beyond their means using credit cards. Chinese citizens can live comfortably if they buy local brands and don’t care about foreign brands.

  • Surfeit

    Give it a few years and George Agdgdgwngo will be on the blower after sort codes and account numbers.

  • sfphoto1

    When I visited Sao Paulo, what did the Brazilians tell me? China is buying up Brazil. And what did I tell them? The 21st Century belongs to China. Here’s why: if the Chinese can undercut its competitors at ten cents to the dollar, what’s going to happen to the world economy? China will own the world.

    Ethiopians can’t compete against the Chinese but the Chinese can and do compete against the richest nations in the world.

  • Probotector

    China… uh… well done?!

  • Harold Janson

    That’s not the “richest”, in 1st tiers, the median household is over 100k RMB already. 24k is 2k a month, sorry losers, but that’s not “middle income” by any stretch of the imagination.

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