Skip to comments.Chinese dash to embrace austerity
Posted on 02/08/2009 1:22:35 AM PST by bruinbirdman
THE Chinese are getting back on their bikes. As austerity chic grips the nations 150m-strong middle class, many are signing up to an internet campaign to live on just 100 yuan, about £10, a week.
The first luxury to go is the private car, which is being left at home in favour of the sturdy bicycles that once swarmed down every avenue in China.
The smallest traffic fine is 100 yuan, so I just take my bike, said Chen Wenjin, a 41-year-old housewife.
Reports of such frugality long deemed ro be a Confucian virtue have flooded Chinese newspapers and websites since the economy hit hard times.
Chen has also joined the ranks of those terminating expensive gym memberships and returning to the public parks where, for generations, the Chinese have performed traditional exercises in the early mornings.
Many have given up recently fashionable western-style foods such as milk, bread and branded drinks like Coca-Cola.
To put the 100 yuan campaign in perspective, the incomes of those trying it out range from 3,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan a month. Many are also trying to pay mortgages taken on during Chinas property boom, which has deflated.
Ironically, the communist government is horrified at the movement to curb consumer extravagance. To consume is to love ones country declared Liaowang (Outlook), a magazine run by the official Xinhua news agency.
Patriotism doesnt just mean shedding ones blood on the battlefield but in these times when our economy is afflicted by the global crisis, going out and consuming is real patriotism.
(Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk ...
The total collapse of China is fast coming. Expect to see an economically well-off South China with a dominant Cantonese speaking populace and a North China where the Mandarins will ride their bicycles.
The West will be lost rather soon. The Tibetans, the Uighur and the Hui will go their own ways and the Mongols in Inner Mongolia will rejoin their brethren in the north.
do the chinese have no concept of individuality? they seem so ready to accept whatever bullcrap their media forcefeeds them. our media does the same thing, but I can’t see people going for “austerity chic”.
You can see the times here throwing it out there, to see if it will stick.
reduce your standing of riving. that would be... ahh, cool and “chic”. yes, low standard of living... good
It’s another London Times exaggeration, IMO, although some traditional Chinese philosophies and practices are interesting and continuing. ...probably won’t buy any more of their convenience or entertainment products. But I’ve been looking over some of their small production machines and tools, which are also interesting. Some of the small engines for those are designed somewhat like old Mercedes engines. ...going to run synthetic oil in one of them and seal the electronics from moisture, to see how long it will last.
yes exactly, but do you think Americans would fall for that today?
I wonder if they’ll be donning mao suits next.
It’s still COMMUNIST CHINA...that’s why they fall for anything their media (government) says...contrary to economic wonks and Globalists.....they are still Communist
Hmmm....now how is the US supposed to trade with a Chinese middle class spending under $20 per week?
Reason #467 to choke your favorite economist...can’t trade when they don’t buy....
When seeing the ostentatious spending surrounding the Olympics, lefties like Obama swooned and said “me too!”.
Those of us with common sense saw billions being wasted on projects that would never pay for themselves, and said “China is going to fall”.
We will soon see who had the correct judgment.
It looks like the Chinese are way ahead of us on this “go Green” movement; going back to riding bicycle and cutting down on consumption and all that stuff.
I’m not sure if either of you speaks Chinese or has visited China. Most Chinese do NOT believe in Communism, particularly if they’re not party members. In fact, a lot of party members don’t believe in it either. The average Chinese has found that if a person wants to survive the dictatorship and the Party cadres, one kowtows to authority while ignoring it privately.
If there has been one guiding philosophy through Chinese history, even during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, it is Confucianism. Part of that philosophy requires a certain amount of personal conformity for civic order as well as living a relatively frugal life.
While the Times might call it “austerity chic” in English, the Chinese media are calling the trend to austerity a return to familial duty. A couple of problems a lot of us of Asian descent in the US have had with new immigrants are their disrespect of elders and their ostentatious living (really hard to believe these folks came from a Communist country). The young are as bad, if not worse, than their American counterparts.
The surprise is the call to consumer spending by the Communist Party. I seem to remember President Bush making similar calls after 9/11 to maintain the economic viability of the nation during wartime. Unfortunately, too many Americans became super-patriots in this area, spending to their credit limits and digging themselves into debt, which they were doing a pretty good job of prior to 9/11. One of the problems of this recent recession has been the collapse of the credit market, specifically mortgages and small business loans as well as defaults on credit cards.
As hunters, my friends and I have followed the principle that the “greenest” way to go is simply to not buy more stuff and to make do with the old, whether it’s our vehicles (mine’s the youngest at 11 years) or our weapons (one of us hunts with a 1928-vintage L.C. Smith side-by-side shotgun).
Unfortunately, my weakness has been gear like camo stuff, hunting and shooting vests, and the quest for a truly waterproof shell bag.