Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Zugzwang
    08 Jun '07
    21 Nov '18 01:341 edit

    "Imagine you have to make a bet.
    There are two 18-year-olds, one in China, the other in the United States,
    both poor and short on prospects. You have to pick the one with
    the better chance at upward mobility.

    Which would you choose?
    Not long ago, the answer might have seemed simple.
    The “American Dream,” after all, had long promised a pathway to a
    better life for anyone who worked hard.

    But the answer today is startling: China has risen so quickly that
    your chances of improving your station in life there vastly exceed
    those in the United States."

    "The American Dream is Alive. In China."

    "China is still much poorer over all than the United States. But the
    Chinese have taken a commanding lead in that most intangible but
    valuable of economic indicators: optimism.

    In a country still haunted by the Cultural Revolution, where politics
    are tightly circumscribed by an authoritarian state, the Chinese are now
    among the most optimistic people in the world — much more so
    than Americans and Europeans, according to public opinion surveys.

    What has changed?
    Most of all, an economic expansion without precedent in modern history.
    Eight hundred million people have risen out of poverty.
    That’s two and a half times the population of the United States."

    "Life expectancy has also soared. Chinese men born in 2013 are expected
    to live more than seven years longer than those born in 1990;
    women are expected to live nearly 10 years longer."

    "Like the United States, China still has a yawning gap between the
    rich and the poor — and the poorest Chinese are far poorer, with
    nearly 500 million people, or about 40 percent of the population,
    living on less than $5.50 a day, according to the World Bank."

    "China’s progress is especially remarkable given how the government has used
    social engineering to restrict where people live and how many children they have."

    "This is why many people now talk about “the Chinese Dream.”
    Xu Liya, 49, once tilled wheat fields in Zhejiang, a rural province
    along China’s east coast. Her family ate meat only once a week,
    and each night she crammed into a bedroom with seven relatives.

    Then she attended university on a scholarship and started a clothing store.
    Now she owns two cars and an apartment valued at more than $300,000.
    Her daughter attends college in Beijing."