Latest News:  
Beijing   Sunny/Overcast    7 / 0   City Forecast

People's Daily Online>>Opinion

What does American Dream mean for China?

(Global Times)

08:44, September 19, 2011

With second largest economy in the world, China has shown the global community the results of people working hard. Thus, more and more Chinese people have set their goals toward materialism, in hopes of a better life.

While this intention is certainly admirable, far-fetched targets may also bring calamity. During the 1920s, the US experienced an economic boom. People could drive their own cars, have fresh food delivered to their houses, and have a wide variety of shopping items. These improvements of living standards made the American people want more wealth and set higher goals.

However, these goals were shattered when the stock market crashed in 1929. And the very reason for the destruction of their hopes was because Americans had bought things with money they did not possess. As the people wanted more and more, one single failure could trigger the end to all desires.

A similar disaster occurred 79 years later when the US housing bubble popped, beginning the 2008 financial crisis. People borrowed huge sums of money from banks that they could not repay, encouraged by an unregulated financial system and a culture of consumption. Thus, people had their houses repossessed, the US economy suffered, and many middle-level jobs disappeared.

With many jobs gone to Asia, the unemployment rate has risen drastically, causing recent graduates struggling to find ways to repay their student loans. One consequence has been the increasing income inequality, with the US’ Gini index, which measures the wealth gap, continuing to rise.

Coincidentally, one of the biggest challenges the Chinese government faces today, is also the increasing income gap. China’s Gini coefficient, today close to that of the US, has also surpassed 0.40 and is currently around 0.47.

To prevent a further rift between the two classes, the growing Chinese middle class must not excessively borrow money, while the Chinese government must tightly regulate the monetary and fiscal policies to avoid an economic disaster while preventing rampant evasion.

American literature also warns that people should not reach too far. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the main character, bootlegger Jay Gatsby desires everything. He wants it all from personal wealth to cars, and from mansions to the girl he loved and lost. Gatsby’s goals change from reality to fantasy, and he forgets that certain things cannot be bought. As a result, when he dies, no one comes to his funeral.

These examples, I hope, can warn us that setting goals that are too high can only present a greater downfall not only to an individual, but also sometimes to a society as a whole.

In today’s Chinese society, the reason why many men to buy houses is to get married. Chinese women generally prefer men who have steady incomes and reliable backup. However, with the ever-rising property prices, the goal cannot always be instantly achieved.

China also needs to learn lessons from US racial history. Even though China does not have a big multiracial community, China has 56 different ethnic groups.

Although many of the ethnic groups have fewer than 1 million people, it is still important to guarantee the equal rights and opportunity of the people, as American history has shown.

The equality issues in the US began when European traders sold slaves from Africa to work on plantations in the American south.

Despite the end of slavery after the Civil War (1860-65), African Americans in many areas were still not able to vote, receive the same education, and apply for certain jobs prior to the 1960s.

As a Hong Konger, I couldn’t be happier for the progress made by China and its people. Nonetheless, if we want to achieve the Chinese dream, we can learn from the US example and not make the same mistakes.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:陈乐乐)

Leave your comment3 comments

  1. Name

Kim_kool at 2011-09-21116.2.39.*
I"m frankly tired of these sloppy analyses of US capitalism turning up in Chinese English media. It"s like these opinion writers have never read Marx" "Capital".The repeated trend I"m seeing in these kinds of articles is of drawing conclusions with no evidence. For example, centering an argument on a FICTIONAL CHARACTER such as Jay Gatsby does not prove anything at all.Over-reliance on credit is not a common sense way of living for everyday people. However, the glaring omission of these weak analyses such as this is the recklessness and criminality of the political and oligarchical classes, who basically foist this mode of existence on the masses for their own profit. This article mentions the income gap, but the rich elite are nowhere to be found in the article and apparently without fault in the society. These articles blame consumers, or little fish, which is letting the big fish (bankers and other capitalists) off scot-free. This indicates a very warped view of a society and its ailments. Don"t the Chinese have a saying that "a fish rots from the head down"?
Kim_kool at 2011-09-21116.2.34.*
I"m frankly tired of these sloppy analyses of US capitalism turning up in Chinese English media. It"s like these opinion writers have never read Marx" "Capital".The repeated trend I"m seeing in these kinds of articles is of drawing conclusions with no evidence. For example, centering an argument on a FICTIONAL CHARACTER such as Jay Gatsby does not prove anything at all.Over-reliance on credit is not a common sense way of living for everyday people. However, the glaring omission of these weak analyses such as this is the recklessness and criminality of the political and oligarchical classes, who basically foist this mode of existence on the masses for their own profit. This article mentions the income gap, but the rich elite are nowhere to be found and apparently without fault. These articles blame consumers, or little fish, which is letting the big fish off scot-free.This is the lesson lost on this and other contemporary Chinese writers...all societies are doomed to degenerate and fail when society is perceived unscientifically and social problems are misdiagnosed. The question for the Chinese is, is it Socialism or Capitalism with Chinese characteristics?
Jack Smith, USA at 2011-09-1924.26.135.*
Excellent editorial! The U.S. became great because of its isolated geographical location in the world, the historical timing of its founding at the dawn of the Industrial Age and its untapped natural resources at that time. The U.S. started with a clean slate and no baggage.Not so now. The U.S. has squandered the land of milk and honey and is ruled by a Worthless Arrogant Greedy and Corrupt Exploitive Class while its people are divided over one petty issue after another. The U.S. has become pathetic and the Chinese People are well-advised to learn from their folly and avoid the same potential fate. The 21st Century will be an interesting time in world history, as we will likely see whether Capitalism with American Characteristics can survive or whether it is replaced by Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.The odds favor the Chinese.Jack Smith, USA
  

Selections for you


  1. 'China committed to green policies'

  2. NASA launches "curiosity" rover to Mars

  3. Syrians demonstrate in support of president Assad

  4. Body insurance: World's most expensive legs and breast

Most Popular

Opinions

  1. Protecting monetary sovereignty
  2. Think competitively
  3. Public anger hits the roof
  4. Zero-sum mentality should be ditched
  5. US expected to contribute to Asian economy
  6. No end in sight for economic doldrums
  7. China supports UN green industry initiative
  8. It's proved a wise decision
  9. The role that US plays in Asia
  10. Addressing climate change

What's happening in China

Cheers to the newlyweds

  1. 113 sentenced over tainted pork scandal
  2. Xiamen to open govt jobs to Taiwan residents
  3. Increase in foreign airline complaints
  4. Chongqing lets guide dogs for blind in public
  5. Heavy fog disrupts traffic in Liaoning Province

PD Online Data

  1. The lion dance in Guangzhou
  2. The flower fair in Guangzhou
  3. Lion dances pay New Year calls in Guilin
  4. Jiangsu´s special New Year traditions
  5. Hakka traditions in Spring Festival