Recently, the news media has been overloaded with stories about "income inequality," "corporate greed," and the ongoing struggle between the "99%" and the "1%."
Granted, these are probably issues that should be addressed, but one feels compelled to say that there is no need to riot over these things especially when one compares the situation in the U.S. to other countries.
China is a good example. Some of the issues facing the workers in the communist country make the complaints of the average OWS protester pale in comparison.
For instance, Since 2003, house prices in China have tripled.
Not bad enough?
Well, consider some of these facts (via Business Insider):
- Around 140 million farmers have had their land forcibly seized by the government in the past 17 years
- 16,810 Chinese coal miners have died in accidents in the past five years
- There are nearly 500 million who live on less than $2 a day
Now to be sure, most would argue the economic situation in the U.S. is not pretty. Unemployment is intolerably high, regulations are stifling business growth and the Federal deficit is out of control. But when talking about the U.S. economy, the OWS protesters might consider keeping things in perspective -- and if they want to talk about the "wealth gap," perhaps look to China.
Capitalism didn't cause the problems over there. Autocratic rule and "institutionalized corruption" did. If the Occupiers are really concerned about "income inequality" in the U.S., they might do well to stop blaming bankers and search out the corrupt politicians and crony capitalists who helped to create this financial mess.
It seems that's precisely what the Chinese have started doing. There is a reported average of about 493 mass protests in China every day because of "a deep-seated unhappiness with abuses of power and officials who see themselves as above the law" (not because of student loans or $5 debit card fees).
The real question is whether those protests will eventually turn into a revolution.
Some people think so.
According to the Financial Times, it has gotten to the point where even the Chinese “ruling elite” are whispering to one another about the possibility of revolution.
Obviously, news of this sort has the Chinese government spooked. When Patrick Chovanec, an associate professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management in Beijing, first read the Financial Times report, he was unable to repost it and instead wrote:
. . . the article’s last three paragraphs — are too explosive for me to reprint in a blog authored in China. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it.
What did he read that would be unthinkable to post in China?
These are the passages he was talking about:
In private conversations, many of the people who supposedly make up the ruling elite of China express serious misgivings about the direction and future stability of the country, while admitting that they feel largely powerless to affect meaningful change.
“There is a sense that we are approaching an inevitable breaking point, when the pressures in society will boil over and consume the rulers,” says one Chinese banker with close ties to a number of powerful political families.
“Almost all of the elements are in place for an uprising like we saw in 1989 – corruption is worse today than it was then, people feel they can’t get ahead without political connections, the wealth gap is much bigger and growing and there has been virtually no political reform at all. The only missing ingredient now is a domestic economic crisis.”'
Indeed, just one crisis.
(h/t Business Insider)