Feature

China: The danger of class inequality

The country&rsquo;s economic advances of the past few years created great wealth&mdash;but only for a chosen few, said Li Hong in the <em>People&rsquo;s Daily.</em>

Li HongPeople’s Daily

The country’s economic advances of the past few years created great wealth—but only for a chosen few, said Li Hong. “Bankers, property developers, and top corporate executives bag six-, seven-, or even eight-digit yearly bonuses,” while “the average Joes take back home only meager checks.” This growing disparity is dangerous.

Over the past year, 20 million migrant workers were out of work at one time or another, and they are understandably filled with “extraordinary bitterness.” Why should they “sleep in the freezing snow” while urban fat cats spend $1,000 on a bottle of rare wine? Chinese society is becoming polarized between rich and poor, and that could lead to “mounting class polarization,” a precarious situation for any country.

Fortunately, the central government is taking action. It has increased subsidies to farmers and even “started to institute a rural medical-care and pensions system.” Local councils, too, will have to do all they can to “nourish and expand the middle class.” The experience of “Western developed countries” teaches us that wealth inequality must be “kept within a reasonable and controllable range.”

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