Untouchable Prosperity

The first Global Wealth Report from the Credit Suisse Research Institute said in December 2010 that average per capita wealth in China had reached US$18,000, and that China would be a “big driver” in an forecast 61 percent increase in overall global wealth up to 2015. Inside China, the response to the report was less than enthusiastic, as real wealth has yet to materialize for real (versus statistical) “average” Chinese. The so-called “three big mountains” of housing, healthcare and education are still major expenses for the vast majority of Chinese, and statistical prosperity looks, as some have said, rather like “the reflection of the moon on the surface of the water.” In the following cartoon, posted by artist Fan Jianping (范建平) to his QQ blog, an “average” Chinese, crushed under the weight of the “three mountains,” crawls toward a mirror held by a (Swiss?) gentleman in a nice blue suit. In the mirror, which is labeled “18,000 US$ per capita,” gold coins are piled up, mercilessly teasing the poor Chinese man.

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