Not Made in China
New research on China’s economic “success” reveals that happiness does not correlate to economic growth. So as we hear forecasts of China becoming a major new player on the world stage, we can rest assured that perhaps they don't "have it made" in China after all.
As America’s own economy crumbles along some pronounced fault lines, China’s economy continues to catapult at a rate of 10% annually, as it has steadily for the past 20 years. While it is easy to associate the notion of economic “growth” with prosperity and well being, recent studies looking at the relation between economic growth and happiness in China suggest that this “growth” is rather a metastasis. That is, despite the rapid multiplication in per capita consumption, people in China are less happy overall.
A recent study reported that 71% of the wealthiest people in China were highly satisfied with their life, while 42% of the poorest individuals reported the same level of high satisfaction. During the past twenty-year period of rapid economic growth, the middle class has, at least according to the statistics, remained at the same level of well being throughout. Notwithstanding the absurdity of trying to measure happiness and well-being through surveys and statistics, this research still underscores the wisdom of the age-old adage that money can’t buy happiness, and that economic success does not necessarily lead to wellbeing or to a meaningful life.
Image: "Money is Freer than People" by v1ctor on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.