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The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World's Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

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By Norm Goldman
Published on June 20, 2011
 

Author: Helen H. Wang

Publisher: Bestseller Press

ISBN: 978-14528980949




Click Here To Purchase THE CHINESE DREAM: The Rise of the World's Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You

Author: Helen H. Wang

Publisher: Bestseller Press

ISBN: 978-14528980949

Helen Wang is a consultant and expert on the middle class of China. She was born in China where she lived until 1989 when she came to the USA to pursue a master's degree at Stanford University. Wang has worked in a variety of positions in Silicon Valley and presently devotes a great deal of her time between consulting companies doing business in China and helping non-profit organizations make a difference.

In her The Chinese Dream, Wang introduces us to China's rising middle class, exploring the making of this emerging class, its complexities and challenges. The principal theme of the book, as noted by Wang, is the oneness of the world, which she states has grown out of her more than twenty years of experience living at the crossroads of East and West. In writing her book, Wang interviewed over one hundred people in China and spoke to important Chinese economists and experts.

As Wang points out in the Preface, the term “middle class” is a Western concept and to a certain degree to my many Chinese it contains mythical elements. They believe that all Westerners own homes, drive cars, and travel for vacations. In addition, they believe that middle class people should have good manners and a tasteful lifestyle. What is more is that they don't consider less-skilled professions as waiting on tables as middle class. In China, it is the rural migrants that earn very low salaries and for the most part fill these jobs. In her book, Wang uses a combination of definitions to describe the Chinese middle class which is broken down into urban professionals and entrepreneurs from all walks of life, who have college degrees and warn an annual income from $10,000 to $60,000. We are informed that over three hundred million people, or about twenty-five percent of China's population meet this criteria in 2010.

Organized into two principal sections, Wang first explores the dramatic changes that have taken place in China over the past fifteen years. She begins with by showing the paradox as to how capitalism and communism can co-exist side by side and even though there are pronounced differences in Eastern and Western ways of thinking, somehow they both can compliment each other. According to Wang, and using as a metaphor the oneness of the world, she demonstrates how the large Chinese Middle Class will provide a balancing force for the Western world and become a positive catalyst for greater prosperity and world stability. She also shows how the not-so-private sector operates and reflects on China's complex society.

From here Wang goes onto discuss globalization and its effect on the urban Chinese Middle class, known as “white collars,” where this phenomenon has opened doors for many Chinese to work in thriving private enterprises and multinationals. As Wang states, when she left China young people never dreamed of having their own businesses, however, this has now changed and they do talk about their dreams of the freedom of having their own enterprises.

The next interesting section deals with rural migrants who have pulled themselves out of poverty and we read about the reasons for this great migration, as well as the potential obstacles such as China's rigid household registration and educational systems. Quite noteworthy is that China's urban population has more than doubled from 254 million in 1990 to 640 million in 2010. Wang debunks the myth of China's manufacturing power and to view China not as a threat but an opportunity. By seeing the process in its larger context, Wang maintains that we will all benefit and the lives of everyone will be improved.

The second part of the book deals with the complex and challenging impact of the Chinese middle class not only on Chinese society, but also on the USA and the rest of the world that will have a profound change on the dynamics of the planet we live in, ultimately leading to a safer and stronger world.

This book delivers a great introduction into the workings of China's middle class, and although Wang was barely able to scratch the surface of this enormous topic, she nonetheless has done an amazing job in providing her readers with an absorbing read. She quickly moves along covering quite a plate full of material with the objective of exposing readers to some very interesting data and allowing you to look at China through another lens. Moreover, this practical informative book works well not only as a business introduction to China's middle class but also as an introductory social history of some interesting times in present day China.


Click Here To Purchase THE CHINESE DREAM: The Rise of the World's Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You