Wednesday, October 28, 2020

China Syndrome

Some people are just more athletic than you. Some clearly seem to be luckier. Some are better looking, some are more ambitious and some are just smarter. This is a hard to accept concept for many in the developed world but not so in China. The masses not only accept it but are grateful for the benefits the work of the few bring to the many.

China has pulled an astonishing number people out of abject poverty in the last 40 years. For all the legitimate "the ends does NOT justify the means" discussion about their policies, this massive quality of living transformation is undisputed. Many if not most were villagers living in the countryside who migrated to urban areas. Millions were urban multi-generational poor born in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of people this quickly who previously did not have enough to eat, clean drinking water, stable housing and access to basic medical care is unprecedented in human history.

China's economic achievements are not news to me or anyone who pays attention to such things.

What I recently learned about Chinese societal norms and culture that helped facilitate this is news to me

Like all nations, China has some extraordinarily brilliant minds. They also have significant numbers of highly organized and driven individuals whose work in the public and (semi) private sectors are a major reason why things turned around the way they did. Ordinary Chinese are grateful their fellow super-citizens are where they are and are doing what they are doing. They know the efforts of their elite compatriots is the reason the countries' standard of living has increased exponentially in a very short people of time. If wholesale jealously exists about the elite's lofty status, it's neither written about nor discussed publicly. (though that perceived silence is a different discussion).

In the Western world and, in particular the U.S., things and perceptions are often very different. In our endless "have nots versus the haves" public dialogs and protests, we mostly hear about how corrupt our system is and how the 1%'ers have designed the system to enrich themselves while keeping the others down.

One can't ignore there is enormous advantage to being born into a connected and wealthy family . It's even more true that notable numbers of the offspring of the wealthy will live very comfortably for the remainder of their lives without ever contributing anything of societal value. It's tempting to demonize these "idiot sons and daughters".

What virtually every study of wealth in the U.S. has revealed, however, is considerably more than half of wealthy Americans are self-made. Back to the beginning of this piece-they are more driven than you and are probably more intelligent. But because of them, you have an iPhone. And commercial jets to fly on. And they will operate on your heart if it is not working properly. The list is very, very long.

Our culture usually doesn't bother to dig too deep to where your money came from. If you have it, well, you're just one of those exploiting 1%'ers.

It's not possible to attempt to understand the very complex situation here at hand in a couple hundred words. 

But let's drop the entitlement groupthink and recognize and appreciate the efforts of these gifted producers- their output has benefited more than a billion people such comfort and care that royalty only 2 centuries ago wouldn't recognize.


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