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Old 03-03-2014, 01:42 PM
 
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I keep hearing about how China and India are now middle class countries but the reality is life there is still really hard for the vast majority of the people there. I mean is making $2 a day really that much of a vast improvement over making $1.25? Either way you're still dirt poor.

Would you say only a small percentage, say 10-20% of the people there have actually had a significant improvement of the standard of living since the 1980s-90s?
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Jersey
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The difference in China is probably more stark if using quantitative metrics alone. China's economy is 20 years ahead of India's, and India's economy hasn't really gotten off the ground until about a decade ago. Observers used to mock the paltry 2-3% "Hindu rate of growth." I've never been to China and don't personally know many Chinese folk outside of a few China-born people that I'm friends with in the US, so I can't say that know of the outlooks or opinions of the average Chinese person.

I do know that in India, folks are generally much more upbeat about their financial future than they were 20 years go. India in the 80s was a cesspool of misery due to the fact that there was little opportunity for economic mobility to the point where just about anyone would take the opportunity to emigrate in a heartbeat. Nowadays, the desire for emigration has waned considerably. The true gauge of whether things are really better can't only be judged by quantitative metrics alone, but also by whether or not people believe that they are in control of their destiny. Prior to the economic reforms of the early 90s which disbanded the License Raj to a certain degree, this was absolutely not the case in India. The political philosophy that wealth creation, capitalism, and economic freedom is bad has become fairly discredited in India; and today, even many if not most poor Indians see further economic liberalization as something that will give them more control over their prospects in life and improve the amount of opportunity available to them.

Last edited by TylerJAX; 03-03-2014 at 05:55 PM..
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I've never heard anyone say India is a 'middle class country'. Saying the middle class is growing doesn't mean the same thing, they're obviously still a small minority in India. China is better off but in terms of material wealth the 'middle class' is still a lot smaller than the US or first world countries. In terms of grinding poverty it seems India is by far worse off now, China seems to have improved from the early 80s when it was almost as bad as India while India still has many, many people living in poverty.
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:33 PM
 
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Compared to the 1980 and 1990, things are basically night and days in China.

in 1985, most Chinese rely on bicycles to get around, and bicycles were considered a big asset. Now China is the world's largest passenger car market.

in 1985, most Chinese families struggle to different extend to provide enough food and well-balanced diet. Now they have access to any food Americans do.

in 1985, most urban Chinese families of 4 live in under 300sf of space. Now many have 3 bedroom apartments.

In 1985, a trip to somewhere 200 miles away is a luxury and people get extremely excited about them. Today, you see Chinese tourists in Paris, in New York, Sydney, in Ushuaia, on Serengeti savanah.

In 1985, it takes 60 hours by train to go from Shanghai to Kunming. Now it is down to 10 hours. In 1985, majority of Chinese had never take a flight, now, they are flying all over the country, and to foreign countries.

In coastal cities, standard of living is probably comparable to Spain already, whether you believe it or not, although inland cities are not as wealthy. A two bedroom apartment in central Shanghai and Beijing can easily hit US$800,000, and it is not luxury or upscale by any stretch.

Yeah, there are still many poor Chinese, but don't be silly, it is a difference between 50 cents and 50 dollars, not $2 and $1.25.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:46 PM
 
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Been to China 25 years ago, and many times the past 10 years. The differences are stark. The traffic in Beijing 25 years ago composed mainly of bicycles, while now there are many luxury cars on the streets. The only Western-style department store that time was the Friendship Store and the only American chain was KFC with only one or two branches. Now, there are huge shopping malls and many restaurants (both foreign and home-grown) that have very nice amenities and world-class ambiance.

Only been to India once about 10 years ago. It looked like at that time that the majority of the population still did not benefit from new development. The growth was mainly in the IT sector and the middle class was growing but it does look like these improvements did not reach a lot of the people in the main cities yet, and most likely did not reach anywhere outside the major cities.
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Old 03-03-2014, 08:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
Been to China 25 years ago, and many times the past 10 years. The differences are stark. The traffic in Beijing 25 years ago composed mainly of bicycles, while now there are many luxury cars on the streets. The only Western-style department store that time was the Friendship Store and the only American chain was KFC with only one or two branches. Now, there are huge shopping malls and many restaurants (both foreign and home-grown) that have very nice amenities and world-class ambiance.
That's only one side of things, though. I mean even if only 1 percent of the population was actually wealthy enough to afford such things it would still be quite apparent. I do think China is quite a bit better off now but I have a feeling the progress is overstated as well. It's certainly not a case of people going from making 50 cents a day to 50 dollars, at least not for the overwhelming majority of people.
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Old 03-03-2014, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Jersey
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Originally Posted by belmont22 View Post
That's only one side of things, though. I mean even if only 1 percent of the population was actually wealthy enough to afford such things it would still be quite apparent. I do think China is quite a bit better off now but I have a feeling the progress is overstated as well. It's certainly not a case of people going from making 50 cents a day to 50 dollars, at least not for the overwhelming majority of people.
So you would say there is absolutely no difference( at least for China) in 20 years despite the fact that hundreds of millions have found more opportunity and financial success in the interim? I'm not sure what empirical evidence you are basing your viewpoints on, but only 27%**(as of 2009) of Chinese earn $2 a day or less. This is in stark contrast to 20 years ago.
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Old 03-03-2014, 09:44 PM
 
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Shanghai in 1990 vs 2010. Does this prove how far the country has come?

I can't speak for India. Everything I read about India's economy seems to be bad. The last thing I read on India was titled "A Brick hits the Wall". And with it's GDP per capita of less than $4,000 it is among the poorest of the world's economies. China on the other hand has now passed $10,000 GDP per capita and is now firmly in the middle income category.
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Are China and India really much better off than they were 20 years ago?-shanghai-china.jpg   Are China and India really much better off than they were 20 years ago?-shanghai-china2.jpg  
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Old 03-03-2014, 09:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CravingMountains View Post
Shanghai in 1990 vs 2010. Does this prove how far the country has come?

I can't speak for India. Everything I read about India's economy seems to be bad. The last thing I read on India was titled "A Brick hits the Wall". And with it's GDP per capita of less than $4,000 it is among the poorest of the world's economies. China on the other hand has now passed $10,000 GDP per capita and is now firmly in the middle income category.
Shanghai isn't China.
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Old 03-03-2014, 09:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TylerJAX View Post
So you would say there is absolutely no difference( at least for China) in 20 years despite the fact that hundreds of millions have found more opportunity and financial success in the interim? I'm not sure what empirical evidence you are basing your viewpoints on, but only 27%**(as of 2009) of Chinese earn $2 a day or less. This is in stark contrast to 20 years ago.
71.6% earn $5 a day or less, that's far from "middle class". Not to mention cost of living etc is probably higher in 2014 than it was in 1994 or 1984.
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