Our Society is Already Downstream
The Economic Observer editorial board writes on social instability and the importance of China’s middle class:
Is our middle class secure? That is precisely what worries us. The income of most urban families is spent on housing, education and health care. We are worried because we cannot afford education or a house, and we dare not to become sick. Even with a house and a car, we are trapped in poverty as we have to pay the mortgage every month and live within our means.
Do we have peace of mind? When our society gives high returns to speculators and conmen, when there is a lack of justice and fairness and the entire society is filled with mistrust, peace of mind is naturally out of the question and the saying “cultivation of public spirit” are just empty words. A common view is that the middle class is society’s “shock absorber”. If the middle class becomes too small or too large, society will become M-shaped, with the numbers of the rich and the poor far exceeding that of the middle class which will be squeezed out by the former two and suddenly disappear, shaking up society. The way to avoid such risk is for our government to accelerate the reform of income distribution and return wealth to the people; improve the social security system and make it work more effectively and include more people and continue to nurture the spirit of public participation. Only when the middle class is expanded, will it be possible for our society to progress.