It really gets to me sometimes when Chinese people say they are a country that is gradually making a change into a market based economy, but it gets to me even more when this ridiculous statement is found in the media, plastered everywhere. It’s as if people really believe that China is still not a market based economy.
Now granted, China is ruled by communist leaders. This I will not deny. However, it is a WAY more capitalist country than the US is in many ways. Far and away way more capitalist. What baffles me is how so many people believe it is not.
China has no social safety net
There is virtually no social safety net in China. Add to this the ultra-low tax rate, enormous competition, and gradual phasing out of the giant state-owned enterprises, and it is beyond obvious that China is currently an EXTREMELY capitalist country. I mean, the US is not quite up to par with many European countries in terms of being a welfare state, but it sure is way above where China is nowadays.
Ruthless market based system
The irony is that so many Chinese people still believe that they live in a communist country, and that it is ruled in such a way as to make people more equal than in say the West. But China is a far more ruthless market-based system than the West is, or perhaps ever was. Where else could you find such a huge discrepency of wealth? In the richest per-capita income city in China, many waitresses who work all day are paid $50 US a month in addition to being provided with very cramped dormitory style housing. $50 a month. Trust me, in Shenzhen that doesn’t go far, and yet these girls manage to send a big portion of that money home to their families who are even worse off than they are. How is that possible in a city with a growing extremely wealthy upper class?
Extraordinary China wealth gap
The gap in wealth is extraordinary. And Shenzhen is a ‘model city’ of China. In many other places the poor are excruciatingly so, while in Shenzhen they are really poor but fed and clothed. The gap also far surpasses that of the states. The poverty line in the US is a joke in comparison. I mean, come on… think about how little hundreds of millions of Chinese people make.
Ah… the US really is the land of wealth and opportunity.
Yet the opportunities for those with luck, determination, daring, and money to start out with are probably a good deal greater in today’s China.
That is the incredible divide. Some people make so much, and some so little. It is out of the ordinary, even for a capitalist country.