Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Unrest in China's cities: Middle-class blues (economist.com)
65 points by tokenadult 1605 days ago | hide | past | web | 4 comments | favorite


OK, I'm not sure if Maslow is 100% correct. Philosophy might not be the pinacle of human endeavor, no matter what philosophers may believe. Whatever the case, people's demands change as they get richer. Engel's law (note the apostrophe - he wasn't a famous friend of Marx) states that the relative demand for food decreases with income.

Virtually no-one in China dies from malnutrition. Cancer is now the leading cause of death. People now care more about pollution than economic growth at all costs. Corruption isn't a big deal if the land reforms by the corrupt official stopped you from starving, but that changes when you aren't so hungry anymore.

And as people get richer, and society gets more diverse, it deepens conflicting interests. Do you want universal healthcare for the uninsured, or a larger private health sector? Should poor people be allowed to migrate to cities? Is corrupt and inefficient public better than greedy private solutions? Not everyone is going to be happy.

And sometimes people just want the right to have their say.

China doesn't want to go down the same path as Russia - a decade of lost growth, then a bunch of thugs taking over the government and industry. But they do want reforms.

Russia went from oligarchs to...corrupt officials and their families taking over industries. They have basically moved toward the China model. The best we can hope for in China is something like a Singaporean police state, where the officials are autocratic and a bit unfair but, at least, incredibly honest.

This seemingly bold unrest for China and the reporting of dissatisfaction could also be related to the fact that Jintao's term as president is soon coming to an end. A large portion of the power structure in China is proportionate to an individuals' degrees of separation from the current political party in control, and with a switch coming up, I think we're going to see more unrest in the next year as some power is diminished.

Just my 2 cents.

I got this from the ToFu blog link in the article:

reporter: 你幸福吗? (ni xingfu ma? or "are you happy?")

migrant worker: 不,我姓曾。 (bu, wo xing zeng. or "my name is zeng").

It plays on a pun of two words that are pronounced "xing," with different tones. The idea is that the migrant worker might have purposely misunderstood the question to avoid answering it with a negative that would have made someone angry.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact