An Evening in Middle Class Life        October, 2009

There is a pattern in the west of seizing on negative China stories as definitive proof than revolution, or collapse, or the Second Coming are just around the corner.   Debt and moral vacuum and lack of trust and cheating.  But China is a big country, with a big middle class that is vested in ongoing stability.  This is just a dinner story from ten years ago, with government friends from Hangzhou and Shaoxing.  This is just middle class people relaxing and enjoying the holiday. 

This story is also about middle class CCP members, and such an observation seems sorely overlooked in most discussions of China's future.  I have no systematic data, but my educated guess is that a Venn diagram of Chinese middle class - however you wish to define them - would show great overlap with CCP membership.  There are about 90 million CCP members.  With some dual member households, let's speculate that comes to 60 million households.  These are the people holding nearly all government jobs, heading up non-government organizations, teaching in high schools and universities, and owning many small and large businesses.  Let's give those 60 million households one child and a grandparent or two, or four, and that is roughly the same as the size of the middle class.  CCP is the middle class, and when writers talk about emerging democracy and civil society and middle class demands for voice, we should remember who we are talking about.  The CCP is the bourgeoisie.

Are you getting hammered from the typhoon?   The constant question from the US in fall of 2015 …

 Hangzhou, Xihu District, Shui Mu Qing Hua residential development.  Reporting from the front.  On the fifth floor.

Liu hé lu, the street right outside the school and our apartment complex, was flooded today. That is the only exit from our development.  Late in the day, there was occasional traffic in each direction in the west bound lanes only; a few of the brave drivers who made the attempt did not stall or get flooded out.  Other major local streets were also flooded, and closed.  There is no other way in or out of our development, and all the other developments to the west of us.  The thousands of us were stranded, at least for the rest of the day. The street floods a couple of time a year anyway, so this was not unexpected. 

Source: Englishsina.com

Source:  chinadaily.com.cn

Enyce and guanxi and ... chen dongfan               Fall, 2009

 

Note – this was a couple of months after I began teaching full time in Hangzhou, so I was being sensitive to … everything.  Food, clothes, manners.

 

Ju la, or as it is sometimes written, Ru la, is an American-sixties style restaurant in the hills of Hangzhou. Chinese food, Chinese patrons, but the design is all exposed and rough-cut wood, with American nineteen-fifties advertising posters on the walls and tables that are enormous rough hewn blocks.  It is very popular, especially on Sundays.  It is a custom to go to a restaurant on Sunday, take a table, and spend two or three hours or more eating and drinking and talking.  No waiters hustling you out as you take your first bite of dessert.  It is Sunday, the one day of rest.

Ju ra       Trip Advisor - Restaurants Hangzhou

 

The Mysterious Parking Garage Market   

 

Tea party activists and Randians and market fundamentalist miss some things about the real world.   One is the distinction between free markets and competitive markets.  Free markets are for one-off deals with buyers and sellers who don’t know each other, have equal power in the market, will not see each other again, and don’t convey any information about the transaction to the rest of the market.  One-off deals are the métier for people like our current dear leader.  Except for the equal power in the marketplace bit.

Libertarian Health Care                                   November, 2012 and updated

Personal responsibility and preservation of power ..

This was written just before and after the birth of our son, and was my take on the medical system.  I could not vouch personally for more than a few hospitals, perhaps six to eight, but stories from over the years, including doctors being murdered by enraged patients or family, confirms that my views expressed here are representative. 

 

What I saw every day -

 

Celia Hoffman. China’s Aging Population Needs A Different System Of Care.  Stock News USA, August 22, 2016   https://stocknewsusa.com/2016/08/22/chinas-aging-population-needs-different-system-care/

 

Zhejiang University of Science and  Technology       Hangzhou

Note to Foreign Students, late 2014

Before you came to China, you were aware of censorship by the Chinese government.   You likely knew that Youtube,  Twitter,  Facebook, and some blog site hosts – blogspot, among others – were blocked by the Chinese government.    You understand that the CCP is so desperately afraid of the Chinese people that it cannot tolerate information from the outside – or inside - that is too “dangerous” to Party longevity.

In 2012, both the New York Times and any news sites operated by Bloomberg were blocked by the Chinese government, in retaliation for reporting on the fabulous family wealth of wen jiabao and xi jinping.    All of their sites are still blocked, including economic information and opinion from Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize winning economist.

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