To Be Relatively Comfortable in an Egalitarian Society -Review of Hanlong Lu

691 Words3 Pages
In 1979 Deng Xiaoping announces his intent to raise Chinese lifestyle with a per capita GNP of $800 (U.S.) by the millennium. However, writer Hanlong Lu realizes that living Deng’s vision of a “xiaokang” meant that personal family interests would have to be entwined with social equality. Lu’s thesis states that by looking at different levels of consumption (in food, housing, etc) it is possible to see how adopting a new market economy can have a relationship with social egalitarianism. Therefore as China adopted itself into the market economy the creation of a new class system was certain and “new rules would be made to regulate economic and social life” (Lu 126). Lu gives three points to carry his observations and analysis of Shanghai’s citizens. Lu’s first point claims that xiaokang began at low levels of consumption so that everyone was relatively equal with one another. Within the first thirty years after Deng’s economic reform, shortages and the coupon system caused people to earn low incomes which meant low numbers of consumers. However, the society was generally equal. In Shanghai from 1952 to 1990, workers wages did not grow parallel with the economy although standards of living rose because of expenditures on worker’s welfare and benefits (129). Second, because of the market economy the government accepted for some people to succeed first, but socialist ideals were still highly valued. For example, mass consumption became a trend with Shanghai neighbors as one family purchased an item (refrigerator, television, etc) other families would also buy. And third, when socialism and market economy clash, public and private values become intertwined. Previously, the state controlled almost all production and redistributed wealth under the systems of central planning and collective ownership. Consumption of food, cellular phones and other networking items could be

More about To Be Relatively Comfortable in an Egalitarian Society -Review of Hanlong Lu

Open Document