Class of 1980: Well, I wouldn’t call it class. Me with my t-shirt and jeans under a tweed sports coat. My lovely date in her new dress flustering raspberry as I pull over my steaming 67 Mustang and scramble in to the ditch on our way to our high school grad dinner. Incapable of humiliation, I give the old Ford a beverage, and jalopy us off, my arm hanging out the window.
Class Struggle - 1980: Around then, would-be journalist, John Pomfret took a student-exchange assignment to Najing University in mainland China, a long way from his New York home. (I highly recommend his chronicling of the experience in his book, Chinese Lessons). The China Pomfret was greeted by had no meaningful middle class, with a GDP per capita that year of $205, well below a dollar per day.
Socials Studies Class: Three years earlier, my socials teacher had just come back from a visit to his communist paradise. With no sense of irony he showed us a scratchy black and white documentary, a British voice describing the streets of Beijing – hundreds upon of thousands of smiling, swarming cyclists making their way to and from work or school or home – so deeply committed were they to fresh air and exercise.
Class of 2020: The Middle Class. I mean - THE middle class -- China, it seems, has taken it over, and may never look back, as evidenced by the chart below. Collective farms, cultural purges, great leaps forward, left in their wake.
Still obsessed with class -- from the other end of the glass, China now boasts:
- Somewhere around 40% of global car sales and smartphones;
- Some 300 million vacation and business trips, in 2019, more than 1/3 overseas (no comment);
- 70% of Chinese millennials own their own home;
- 40% of global e-commerce is Chinese.
Analysis: Oh my flipp’n heck!
Also this: Thumbs up to another successful vaccine on its way. Scroll down to see more below the sign-off.
Enjoy your weekend! Two weeks in a row without mentioning he who shall not - ever not be on the news.