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Sunday, November 27, 2011

China's Princelings

A point that was made in the comments, is does the US have a similar situation? An interesting question where in some areas yes, but I would argue overall no.  Wealth in the US has a habit of lasting a few generations only. And in the US, the rich are usually careful not to flaunt its wealth as was done in the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties as symbolized by book, The Great Gatsby.

A Chinese saying reflects this, and I have heard a similar American saying:

富不過三代(富不过三代) (fu bu guo san dai)
  • Literally: Wealth does not pass three generations.
  • Meaning: It's rare that the wealth of a family can last for three generations (the 2nd may see the value of hard work, but the 3rd forgets it).
  • Explanation: In business, the first generation works extremely hard, so that the second generation reaps the benefits. By the time the third generation arrives, the wealth is squandered.
Compare: the proverb of Lancashire, England: "Clogs to clogs in three generations: the first generation makes it [money/wealth], the second generation saves it and the third generation spends it!". In Victorian times, clogs were wooden soled working mens' shoes, commonly worn in the factories of Northern England.

Children of the Revolution - WSJ

China's 'princelings,' the offspring of the communist party elite, are embracing the trappings of wealth and privilege—raising uncomfortable questions for their elders.



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