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Sunday, November 28, 2010

NYT Magazine - In China, Cultivating the Urge to Splurge

Interesting article about China's economy & the eventual need for it to move toward greater consumption.  As the article notes, one common refrain for us in the US is that part of the problem with the US economy today is that it rests entirely on consumption...and that is true, but the article also points out that hidden behind our high levels of consumption is the fact that so many Americans can spend (even if a change in our debt spending is required).  That buying power is no minor detail; it points to the fact that per capita GDP is much higher in the US than it is in China.  In short, the article reiterates (in case we needed reminding) that the meteoric rise in China's economy in the last 20 years has only benefited a relatively small handful of Chinese while the vast majority of China's population still live on relatively little. 

Another tidbit that the article kind of mentions offhandedly but which is perhaps more directly related to immigration is China's system of household registrations (the hukou) and what it means for the masses of people moving within China.  As most of us know, people will move even if they're "forbidden" to do so...and as that happens in China, the hukuo system effectively treats these internal migrants as illegal aliens in their new provinces...a research project begging for a PI...

Enjoy the read:

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