Skip to comments.China: The Orient Excess
Posted on 03/07/2013 5:26:10 AM PST by bert
Three decades of economic liberalisation have radically changed the face of China. With the number of Chinese billionaires increasing rapidly (it now has almost as many as the US and is closing in on the top spot), the communist ideals of the past seem to have faded beyond recognition.
"You can never have enough money. Money helps me fulfill my dreams", says Li Chao, for whom expensive hobbies like motor racing are no longer out of reach. He thinks nothing of splashing out hundreds of thousands of dollars on glamorous supercars and is unapologetic about his growing wealth. After all, he says, he has earned it.
Li represents a new generation of pioneering 'red capitalists', many of them the children of Communist Party officials. Flamboyant, accustomed to success and able to spend more money in one luxury evening in Shanghai or Beijing than others can earn in a year, they are fast becoming the embodiment of the modern Chinese dream. Others, like the real estate developer Wang Dafu, were born into poverty, but have been equally able to build vast fortunes in a country with growth rates that other nations can only dream of.
"When I started working I sometimes couldn't afford a beer and a bowl of noodles, he says. Now, with his personal wealth estimated at two-thirds of a billion dollars, he could spend the equivalent of 10,000 bowls of noodles on the interior design of his yacht and barely dent his bank account.
It is not surprising that with more and more people splashing the cash, the Chinese auto market is now the largest in the world, its luxury goods market is huge and its art market is booming. This is life - albeit for a privileged minority - in the new China and it is one focused on what many observers now see as an increasingly hollow slogan: "Socialism with Chinese characteristics".
Yet those who run the country clearly do not appreciate the irony. Take the incomes of the members of the People's Congress, the official parliament, which meets once a year. The 70 richest members collectively have assets worth over $85bn. This compares favourably to the relatively meagre $5.5bn available to the 70 richest members of Congress in Washington DC.
Yet Wu Renbao, the former party boss of Huaxi, sees no contradiction. Whatever the ideology - the main thing is that we become rich together," he says. In other words, everyone has an equal opportunity to benefit; all they have to do is work hard.
But not everyone is happy. Economist Zhang Hongliang is an unreconstructed leftist, who warns that Chinas leadership may come to rue its love affair with profit.
"Directors of companies shouldnt be party secretaries. It should be the proletariat providing the secretaries and the directors representing the capitalists. When a person takes on those two roles, one thing is clear: the Communist Party is nothing but a capitalist party through and through," Zhang says.
This revealing film from Jorg Winter and ORF looks at some of the possible consequences of Chinas growing love affair with money and wonders what has happened to the Marxist principles that the nation once paid homage to.
I ran across this piece while looking for news on the war in Syria.
The article is not the important part. The video, long video, is the important part.
Freepers dismiss China as important by using old measuring sticks that are not the proper measure of the present. I would suggest watching the video with special attention to the women, the beautiful young women. The unstated message is "This in not your Daddy's Oldsmobile". They will not becoming revolutionary guards and promoting the Little Red Book.
Then contrast the words of the filthy rich young entrapraneurs with the old man, the communist. The difference is enlightening. I can't understand exactly how to classify the change but it is great.
Chicoms have actually become Chicaps
The transition from central planning communism to market oriented capitalism has not been as smooth as it seems in China. The Party still has huge influence over banks and credit. The central planners in probably a last disastrous act of meddling directed over $1 trillion in capital to construct enormous vacant deteriorating, empty ghost cities. That capital has been squandered and China now sits on the world’s biggest real estate bubble.
You have it right........
Except, If you build it, they will come.
That remains to be seen
My point is not to indicate perfection but change.
China’s ruling elite has stability and term limits.
The Communist Party is reverting to Confucian ideals. But to achieve them, the party must purge corruption from the body politic.
Without it, the PRC is living on borrowed time.
No offense, but you overlook the fact that elections do not happen there.
Chinese markets are closed to imports.
China is profoundly racist.
Other than that, I’m with you.
I didn’t overlook any thing.
The point of the video is not to outline a direction toward conservative perfection but to point out the massive sea change that is underway. We don’t know how it will turn out.
I’m reminded of the Clint movie Paint Your Wagon, a chapter in the great book of American westward expansion set in the California gold fields. They sang......
Where am I goin’?
I don’t know
Where am I headin’?
I ain’t certain
All I know
Is I am on my way
When will I be there?
I don’t know
When will I get there?
I ain’t certain
All that I know
Is I am on my way
Well I am more realistic.
We have given away a huge opportunity. Squandered one.
Now China is outgrowing America. Selling its things in America while keeping its own market closed to American products. Out-exporting America.
Out-everything having to do with business’ing us.
Yet we continue to support the Chinese economy 100%.
We are screwed unless we change path, and start looking out for American production once again.
Just my .02
The new oligarchs are China's new aristocracy. Before the Party members had power; now they also have monetary wealth. The danger to them is that their underlings (through which they rule) will ALSO want wealth and power, and there's only so much to spread around.
The PRC cannot purge corruption. Corruption is the fringe benefit that motivates minor Party officials to want to be Party officials and strive to go higher in the Party.
It's what brought down the USSR. You need some incentive to get people to strive. With the free market, it's the chance to make a lot of money by coming out with a superior product or service. With Communism or Third World oligarchies (or American politics), it's the chance to get in on some good graft.
Of course we abandoned the free market years ago, as well, and our day of reckoning is coming.
I’ve been going to the college gym for the last 30 years.
The chinese used to have bad teeth, be short and thin.
Today, the chinese are as tall as the americans with better teeth, and have muscular fit bodies. They also laugh more than the americans and seem happier. Oh, and the chinese girls used to be short, scrawny and no make up. The chinese girls now look fabulous and much better than the americans.
“The PRC cannot purge corruption.”
Bottom line is: (sung to the song “love and marriage”)
Corruption and government, corruption and government
They have a marriage like a horse and carriage.
And the bottom line is the top income tax rate in china is 25%. Yes you never get rid of corruption in govt. for they are truly a married pair. But the chinese govt. is actually smaller than ours in terms of percent of gdp.
Think he can explain this simple concept to Nancy Pelosi? :)
I’ve been to China several times...including within the last couple of years.And even if what’s being reported is true (almost as many billionaires there as in the US) I can assure everyone that everything that I’ve seen suggests that the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people *still* live like animals...just as they did when I first visited the country in 1980.
Thanks for your insight.
My point is to offer some insight into the change that is underway. The effort is at best thirty years old and may never permeate the total society. We don’t know what the future will bring, but I feel certain that there will be a vast difference in a a hundred years.
I agree about the corruption problem. The wealth is still in the hands of a few. Those few will do what all successful people in communist countries do, LEAVE. They go to Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. corruption will never allow for real, long term success, and real market indicators are actually not in their favor. There are the additional problems of life threatening pollution, poor infrastructure, increasing income gap, low standards of living, radically disporportionate male/ ratios, high risk internal and external debts, aging population, and the rest of the world’s growing fiscal tightening. China is a ticking time bomb.