On The Washington Post, Peter Goodman wrote: Costs of Goods Rise, Standard of Living Falls.
The China that Wang Huazhong glimpses on television is in the midst of an amazing transformation. In cities he has never visited, skyscrapers tower over highways choked with cars, and people jam glass-fronted malls buying up jewelry and luggage simply to pass the time.
Here in his village in the country’s northwest, Wang sees the same desiccated landscape that has changed little in his 46 years. A rutted dirt track winds through treeless mountains to the county seat 30 miles away, the outermost boundary of his experience. Watermelon plants emerge reluctantly from chalky soil, waiting for rain that may never come. A wood stove occupies his mud floor, painting his walls with soot.