There had been a lot of China bashing coming from the west. Just three decades ago, China was still struggling to free herself from the years of Communist rule and ideology. Through sweat and toil, she has transformed into the world’s foremost economic power. She feeds the world with cheap goods and buys American treasury bonds to satisfy Americans’ insatiable appetite for consumerism. With renewed confidence, the tide is turning in Chinese favour. She is making her sovereign wealth to use. Now China is buying up everything everywhere with both private and public funds. The Chinese forays into foreign resource industry and farmlands reflect the government’s responsible and prudent policies. No other country in the world has such a gigantic population of 1.4 billion people to feed and house. These foreign investments benefit both China and the investee countries. Unfortunately, it is also creating a negative backlash.
China bashing arises because of jealousy and fear. Jealous because the wealth is extreme. Fearful because the numbers are humongous. This is exacerbated by extreme flaunting of wealth by some Chinese. With newly acquired wealth, Chinese mopped up expensive properties all over the world and splurged on luxury goods. Almost all deals were done with cash, no loans! To make matters worse, some of their public behaviours were rowdy and a little uncouth. But money talks, France needs to welcome some 1.4 million Chinese tourists each year to boost its revenues and slash its trade deficit by about 2 billion euros. Paris even had to deploy Chinese police officers alongside French counterparts to patrol some of Paris’ main tourism spots.
The emergence of Chinese consumerism is a nascent phenomenon. Is not likely to abate anytime soon. The buying spree is not confined to the more affluent areas in Europe and USA. It is happening all over the world. With a 1.4 billion population, just a trickle is sufficient to inundate all the world’s tourist spots with Chinese businessmen and tourists. Within China, the magnitude of mass exodus of people is unimaginable. Millions jammed the national transportation system during the annual Chinese New Year holiday.
The Chinese are coming.
Is there a problem? Western democracy preaches laissez faire principles and promotes free trade. The prudent Chinese had acquired wealth through hard work and prudence. It is no crime of theirs to be rich. They are now on a rampage fueled by consumerism as they got more exposed to habits learned from the west.
Why is the wealth imbalance tilting towards China and the East? Wealthy nations became rich because their founding fathers saved. Unfortunately the ensuing generations spend beyond what they earn. The principle of thrift has given way to Wall Street’s mantra that “greed is good”. Economists even taught that economic growth is a result of more consumerism, not goods creation. The Federal Reserve prints money like playing “Monopoly”. The US money printing press goes on overtime just to keep up with massive appetite for debt. Debt that can never be repaid because there is no increase in production. EU does the same, so does Japan. These are the G7 countries! Their corruption, decadence and debauchery led them into decay. They are totally addicted to debt.
China did not rob, most Chinese worked very hard. Their blood and sweat is traded for a penny, while the enjoyment goes to the rest of the world. Our fore-fathers did the same, so that the next generations may enjoy those fruits. It is capitalism and democracy at its best. The Chinese is just awakening to the rules of capitalism and is reaping the fruits of the years of toil. Unfortunately, wealth is confined to those with the right connections and blue blood. Chinese wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few elite who are the lucky beneficiaries. Right now, China (the state and the elite particularly) is buying up assets around the world while the bulk of Chinese peasants are still living in poverty. The majority are being exploited, they are victims of the system. Just like any impoverished person in the world. Wealth, more correctly wealth imbalance, is not a Chinese problem. It is the capitalists who have created massive imbalance of wealth. So, don’t bash the Chinese if some are rich.
The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.