Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The safety valve

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that conditions in China could soon become ripe for some kind of revolution, because of a likely dramatic slowdown in the rate of economic growth whilst the demands and expectations of its rapidly expanding middle class remain on the rise and increasingly go unmet.

However, that observation overlooked one key factor which, I think, is the major contribution to China at present apparently continuing to be (enviably or regrettably?) 'revolution-proof'.

It is simply this: the overwhelming demand of the great majority of the new Chinese middle class, or of very large numbers of them anyway, and one which is really not at all dependent on the Chinese government for its realisation, is.... to get the hell out of the country.

China has some of the lowest levels of social trust in the world, and - I would say - some of the lowest levels of respect for its political system and its leaders. But a lot of the people who are most likely to find their aspirations for a better life here frustrated, and who are most capable of expressing their dissatisfaction about that in a cogent and influential manner, do not hang around here to brood on their discontent - they emigrate to Canada (or Australia, or New Zealand, or anywhere else that will have them) as soon as they possibly can.

If 'the West' really wanted to bring down the Chinese Communist Party (and I, for one, increasingly tend towards the view that they should).... I think a ban - or a massive cutback - on Chinese immigration would be all that it would take. If the starting-to-be-rich all had to stay here, they would have to find some way of making this country work better - not just for themselves, but for everyone. But the starting-to-be-rich and the lucky-to-be-educated have an easy way out. And everyone else is too poor and too powerless to lobby effectively for change.


Bill Rich said...

OMG !! You are right !!!

Froog said...

Of course - I'm always right. Even when I'm joking. (Especially when I'm joking?)