Thursday, September 22, 2011

China’s Underwater Turmoil…

Summary Mifu's Chinese calligraphy, Song Dynas...

Image via Wikipedia

“It’s kind of like an ocean where the water is calm on the surface, but underneath, it’s quite dangerous.”

One of my Chinese associates was telling me about the massive changes to Chinese society and culture brought about by the dynamic growth.

It gets all the attention, of course, but the consequences for the average Chinese, in his opinion:

  • rapidly rising housing and automobile costs
  • an aging population (consequence of the 1 Child policy)
  • growing gap between rich and poor

There’s no social safety net, so you are very much on your own and, as is traditional, it is expected that children will take care of their parents.

But, with the One Child policy, you have a situation where two children (a husband and a wife) are responsible for 4 people (their parents) and because costs have skyrocketed, more and more of the income generated by the working couple is devoted to their own lifestyles.

That leaves less money for their parents.

In his opinion, it’s not sustainable (and, in fact, he told me that the government is reconsidering the One Child policy in part because of this).

What’s more…and this SHOCKED me…he shared that many of his friends (educated, English-speaking) are emigrating to US, Canada, NZ, Australia, UK, etc. and that (according to him), China now has one of its highest emigration rates ever.

I’m a bit dubious of that statistic, but the perception-in his mind-that economic security is in jeopardy in his future in China is real…and that’s quite astounding, given how so many people view China as the new “land of opportunity.”

Guess you can’t judge a book by its cover, eh?

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