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The difference between what the poor do in China and those in the USA

Excerpted from the YouTube video, entitled “China’s 600 million poor people, ” hosted by China Teacher Brand, June 25, 2020

Every time that I go into the comments section and the kind of YouTubers, you hear people saying, ah, China has 600 million poor people. There are so many poor people in China. What are you talking about? China being a superpower or not? and I thought well, perhaps it is a good idea to talk a little bit about what we consider poor here here, in China.

I think that there are two kinds of the working class; first, you have those poor people in the countryside; those are farmers and most of these people, well, have something else. So that’s an important thing to consider. They have food that they can grow; they have eggs, pigs, and cows, whatever, and they also grow rice, potatoes, fruits. Yeah, so they’re not so worried about whether you’re going to eat tomorrow for breakfast; board for dinner… what you would consider work.

But see people live here; it’s not an issue if it’s not the best facilities in the world. So, Let’s talk a little bit about the farmers in the countryside, right? They have shelter. They have a place to lay their head to rest at night after a long day of work.

So having food and shelter doesn’t really ring as poor somebody who doesn’t have a way to live. Is it an ideal situation? No, do they have the latest comforts and the technology? No. Do they have access to education; it might be limited. Do they have access to health? It might be limited, but think about the poor in America. If you don’t have a job, do you have social insurance? So if you have medical insurance, such an insurance probably does. But, do you have medical insurance? Do you have food Insurance? Are you sure that you’re going to have enough money? If you need to work, two or three jobs just to put enough money on the table. Do you have enough money to pay for rent? That’s an important difference to consider.

So, let’s think about those farmers here in China who decide to come to the city and work in the city. Let’s say, they don’t have a university degree. So what job can they find? They can find work at a factory. So, … you know that one of the first things that factories do is they build the dormitory for their workers.

There are factories with thousands of workers. And that’s what they do. They build a dorm; is it a penthouse? No, it’s a room shared with four, five, six, or seven people, and well it is not the best accommodation in the world. But, they have shelter. Compare that to the homeless in Los Angeles.

For example, they wish they had a place to lay their head at night. They wish they had guaranteed food because that’s the next thing that factory workers receive. They get three meals a day. So if you are 18 years old, and you don’t want to work in the land, you don’t want to work on the farms, you can go to a factory and get employed and you get shelter and food and on top of that, you get the minimum salary.

Here in my city, Donguan, it is a thousand eight hundred RMB a month, which is about 300 to 350 dollars a month. The thing is that’s the money in their pockets. That’s money that if they wanted to have, and believe me, many of them. Do they save it? Yes, they save it all. That’s why this is where tradition of Chinese people plays a very important role.

Chinese people love to save money; this young guy making three hundred and fifty dollars a month knows that in 10 years, he will have saved about $40,000 perhaps $ 50,000 or $60,000. That is going to be enough money for him to go out and invest in creating his own business, starting his own thing, because after 10 years or 15 years, he has enough experience and enough connections and now he has enough money to go out there and try to build something for himself by himself.

That’s the huge, huge advantage that they have when you’re thinking about city dwellers in America, for example, when you can’t save, you have nothing to look forward, you have nothing to wish for because you know, you’re stuck. You’re not gonna get out of this situation.

Well, the situation is very different here in China: a factory worker knows that in 10 or 15 years, His situation is going to be very different. And then again, we’re talking about poor people. These people care about the latest fashion? Most of them don’t. Do these people care about the latest technology? the latest iPhone? They couldn’t afford it. They don’t adopt. It doesn’t matter to them. They are fixated on and obsessed with the future, with creating a different future for themselves: working, saving, and getting experience, so that they can Become the factor of change in their lives.

What about America? What is the trend in America? The trend is the opposite: more and more people are finding themselves having to have two or three jobs to stay afloat, to pay for rent and to pay for the food that they need to put on the table. So, that’s what I wanted to share with you guys when people come and say to me,” Oh there are so many poor people in China.”

They do not really know that they are very different kind of the poor and that’s the thing when you have no prospects in life. That’s poverty of the soul. That’s probably the worst kind of policy. So let’s not judge China and Chinese poverty or the poor in China so quickly; take a minute to analyze how they are different from the poor in the West.
and see that well, it’s not that bad.

Tjan Sie Tek
A former licensed stock market analyst and investment advisor with 20+ years experience with M.Sc. in Finance from Leicester University; now a Chinese, US and Indonesian macroeconomic and financial analyst, CEO of Center for New Indonesia (CEFNI).


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