I have never witnessed such graphic economic discrepancy in my life as what I am experiencing in Shanghai. It’s certainly not the wealthiest surroundings that I have ever been in, nor was the level of poverty the most extreme, however it seems as if I am experiencing one versus the other in rapid-fire succession, and it is jarring.
China’s economic emergence is in full display in the larger cities, where conspicuous consumption and infrastructure development is exploding. In just three generations, many Chinese have gone from “surviving”, to “thriving”, to “entitled”. It is a phenomenon unparalleled in modern history.
It is fascinating for me to watch, as I can imagine this material gain has come after decades of suffering for so many, yet I see the grasping to things that can ultimately bring no real satisfaction, and may lead to decades more of a different kind of suffering.