China’s Quick-Rich Gurus
According to a joint study done by some local media in China, of nearly 8,000 people surveyed, 65.3% held rather negative views of today’s “rich Chinese”, describing them as being showy, greedy and rotten.
The Middle Kingdom used to be one of the richest – if not THE richest – countries in the world for thousands of years, contrary to Deng Xiaoping’s claim that Chinese people had been poverty-stricken for thousands of years (This guy evidently knew nothing about Chinese history and culture, except political power play). But in recent centuries, China went near bankruptcy to the point where the vast majority of the population was impoverished, and then in the late 20th century, the people were still poor, but quite equally and sometimes proudly (as they were laying the foundation for an independent economic development).
It was not until about a couple of decades ago that a rich class started emerging, and understandably, the great bunk of the members in this class were get-rich-quick folks. The Chinese call them baofahu (Sudden-rich Household 爆发户).
Baofahu isn’t a complimentary term praising those who rise up in society through their own effort but is a word ascribing to those who are rich in wealth but poor in culture and manners.
Among today’s baofahus in China, few get rich quicker than property developers. Just look at how China’s housing price is rising, rising and rising, you shall get a fair idea of how the developers’ fortune growing, growing and growing.
And their guts are blowing, blowing and blowing.
Not too long ago, a government building was partially demolished by developers without the government’s permission. If they can treat governments with such contempt, does anyone need to stretch his imagination to picture how they are treating ordinary people?
It’s no wonder that they become, along with many other quick-rich gurus, the most hated figures in China.
But not everyone despises them. Some don’t, particularly some “experts” don’t, and particularly those with their special expertise in one thing, and one thing only – promoting the wholesale of the Western free-market system – don’t. An economist declared openly that it is only reasonable that houses, cars and aeroplanes are made just for the rich people. He further offered himself to be the spokesman of the affluent Chinese.
By the same token, it should only be reasonable that the houses, cars and aeroplanes are made exclusively for the rich nations. And culture too, and the Olympic Games too, and Weapons of Mass Destruction too.
Then if China is by and large still poor, it ought to stick to a life with bungalows, horse-draw carts and wooden boats. If its people want anything more than that, be it in economy, culture or sports, that would certainly deplete the resources of the developed countries, endanger the environment of the whole world, and hurt the pride of the rich nations.
The Advice from Some of China’s Top Economic “Experts”
Is the wealth gap between rich and poor in China too big? Certainly not, in fact, it’s still not big enough. Only when we further increase the gap, the socioeconomic advancement of the nation can then be achieved. (中国的贫富差距还不够大，只有拉大差距，社会才能进步. – 厉以宁 )
If national assets were a bowl of rice, we should spit on it. (国有资产就是一碗饭，要往上面吐吐沫. – 厉以宁 – 厉以宁)
It shouldn’t be a problem if the inflation grows to 24% (24%的物价上涨也问题不大. – 厉以宁)
In order for the economic reform to succeed, we have no choice but to sacrifice an entire generation, that is 30 million old workers. (为了达到改革的目标，必须牺牲一代人，这一代人就是3000万老工人. – 厉以宁)
800 million peasants and redundant workers are China’s huge assets since their consistent presence under the current condition is necessary for the happy lives of the rich few. (8亿多农民和下岗工人是中国巨大的财富，没有他们的辛苦哪有少数人的享乐，他们的存在和维持现在的状态是很有必要的. – 厉以宁)
The poor people should view the rich guys as their big brothers. The seniors wear new clothes, and the juniors get their hands down, which is only natural. (穷人应该将富人看成自己的大哥，大哥穿新衣小弟穿旧衣，天经地义. – 厉以宁)
China is in the middle phase of development. We’ll have to go through the heavy industry stage, during which the pollution to the environment is unavoidable. But so what, we’ve gained the economic benefits. (中国处于发展中阶段，重工业化是必经阶段，对环境的污染势必难免但我们获得了收益. – 厉以宁)
I call for the full abolition of old-age pensions, unemployment benefits, compensations for work-related injuries and all other welfare payments, that’s the way to make people stick to their jobs. (我建议取消所谓的养老保险、失业保险、工伤保险等等福利，目的是保持大家的工作热情和能力 – 厉以宁)
Let redundant workers live in rural areas! (下岗工人到农村去 – 厉以宁)
Why today poor people can’t afford tertiary education? Because the tuition fees are too low. (中国目前为什么穷人上不起大学？是因为收费太低 – 张维迎)
The goal of reform is to adapt the Western economic model. (改革的目标是欧美模式 – 吴敬琏)
China’s Rich And Poor
During the period between the 1950s and 1980s, China was undoubtedly the most income-equalised country in the world. But not any more. Today the gap between rich and poor expands at an alarming rate along with the economic growth. According to a research study published in 2004, the wealth gap between China’s urban and rural populations is the highest in the world. And the gap keeps widening. Some days ago, China’s Vice Minister of Finance admitted that China’s income gap has a Gini Coefficient of 0.46, way over the “alarm level” of 0.4. In today’s China, the cost of living, in particular the housing, schooling and hospital service, is the biggest concern and financial burden to the ordinary income-earners. On the Internet forums, some Chinese slam the property developers as man-eating beasts, doctors the white snakes and the teachers the cobra.
China’s property developers, such as Huayuan Property Co. (华远地产), a joint venture with foreign investment including Japan and South Korea, have contributed greatly to China’s distorted economic and social reality through ruthless exploitation of the loopholes in China’s system that has been, to a certain degree, reshaped in the recent decades under the enormous pressure of the West and their local collaborators.
Huayuan’s chief openly and repeatedly proclaimed that his company only builds houses for the rich people and that low and middle-income earners do not deserve to own their own homes.
Indeed. Many of the peasant workers, China’s lowest-income earners as well as the main contributors to the “China Economic Miracle”, cannot afford to live in a proper house/flat due to the inflated housing/rental prices bubbled up by the developers and their associated “experts” and corrupted officials, so they can only call a container home.
A little girl in Fuzhou shares this container residence with her family.
Edited on Nov 4, 2023