China’s Middle Class: Not What You Think It Is – Philip Bowring
Philip Bowring writes on Asia Sentinel:
The phrase “middle class” is bandied about as though China now had huge numbers happily consuming at the rate of your average Los Angeles suburbanite.
Even taking into account the huge income disparities in China and accepting that most people are still poor, that would still seem to leave a few hundred million people with significant and fast-growing disposable incomes. So it’s worthwhile to look at the actual numbers. Who might be in this free-spending, upwardly mobile urban economy? Who is going to buy all the clothes, toys, electronic gizmos, cars, shoes and assorted bric-a-brac that currently gets shipped off to earn dollars for the nation’s leaders to squander on acquiring more foreign exchange reserves? [Full text]