Fear of collective losing out are inflating the biggest ever property bubbles across all major cities in China and it had begun spilling over to the neighbouring countries in an unprecedented manner
The common do or die imperative are inculcated in hundreds of millions of modern Chinese where narrowing of opinions had established the ultimate new guaranteed path to happiness; Properties; either in tier 1 or now increasingly tier 2 or 3 cities. Unlike other peers, China had been deploying a planned economic strategy where GDP was predetermined, planned and executed for the past few decades ever since she opened her gigantic doors to international trade and commerce. Properties being one of the key driving force for economic growth play an indispensable force behind the 40 years of significant growth.
However, there are already probably more than enough apartments for every single Chinese families for their accommodating needs. The accelerating pace of urbanisation helps worsening the speculation as proper planning wasn’t in placed to cater for the new demographic profile and younger families are increasingly being priced out. Moreover, in an effort to leverage on strong domestic demands in the backdrop of dwindling international trade; hundred of thousands if not million of farming families from rural region were relocated into the newly built high rise apartments in town area therefore severing them from their legacy strong hold of dependencies on lands, mother earth which had been nourishing million of Chinese with her abundant life giving resources in agriculture and other means; all one need is an access to a plot of land for sustenance for his whole family.
Despite having a respectable portion of newer generation in the newly settled living quarters having the suitable opportunities and exposure to connect with the new society making a decent living in employments, many were left out and majority still feel insecure and hallow within not having their feet touching the soils being housed in their multi-story apartments and these uneasiness had reinforced in the irrational buying up as many properties as one can through saving and credits further inflating the prices despite multiple round of cooling measures Government had deployed.
Of course, there are couple of others factors detailed below collectively explains the obsession Chinese had over on properties; its had gone way beyond the fundamental sheltering needs; filling the big black holes of insecurities, anxiety, life purpose, mistrusts, peer pressure and so on and these phenomena had spilled over to oversea where local developers and land owners benefited enormously more often than not on the expenses of local domestic residents on their fundamental housing needs:
Whatever money you might have, self-worth really lies in finding out what you do best. J. K. Rowling
Lack of mainstream faith: The values Chinese held are the determining factors on all matters; worries, agonies, happiness and suffering itself are simply neutral events depending how one perceive them. Without faith and religion, we tend to establish our self-worth on possession of external things. Decade of cultural revolution in the 60s had essentially dismantled ancient faith and belief systems and many simply follow the contemporary dynamic definition of success and happiness mostly led by Government propaganda and mass public media which was solely commercially influenced. eg. TV drama over promoting on consumerism and relentless pursuit of wealth
Bench marking with others: Chinese are obsessed with ranking and comparison. All the way from children’s grade, talents and choice of school to salaries and welfare benefits in the work place. Many grew up with their parent’s competitive nature and became envious about other’s establishments and throw in our own beliefs to make one feel inferior and unworthy and making a habit out of it. Instead of pursuing true happiness, most are blinded by comparative happiness; one must be better of than neighbors, peers, colleagues and even the distant cousins. Most overlooked the ultimate level of the quest for the realizations of personal potential and self fulfilment, its all personal and had nothing to do with others.
Mistrust on the Authority: Chinese is susceptible to some of their worst instinct when one begin to lose faith in the system in safe guarding their accumulated wealth, the same regime which had allowed individuals to own private wealth and brought in huge amount of trades and employments opportunities since the 70s. No check and balance can redeem what private Chinese citizen have unleashed on the pursuit of prosperity and happiness, its inevitable one wanted to have more autonomy and control moving up the Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs; started off with biological toward physiological imperatives. The regime had to accommodate the up and rising inspiration of the hundred of millions of the middle income group although the aspiring need of more autonomy might never have been as important politically as the current administrator believed.
In summary, overheated properties market in China reflects a increasing level of collective anxiety and insecurities, from middle age generation of Chinese in their 40s and 50s who is going through the uphill tasks of taking care of his or her aging parents with no other sibling to shoulder the burdens, a consequences of “One Child Policy” to older generation in their 70s and 80s who had missed out in maximising their God given potentials due to the decade long “Cultural Revolution. Many newly minted middle income families with significant disposable income subconsciously had this unspeakable fears of having their bright and rewarding destiny taken away from them overnight had chosen to “Properties” to either leverage on the “risk” or simply wanted to secure a delusive peace of mind.
There is another important factor in play. “Internet”. Instead of true liberation, social media networking had effectively transform into the modern day witch hunting machine, consolidating data trends from massive number of online citizens where convenient of anonymity had distorted their genuine perspective and opinions, their avatars had taken a new identify of their own and sometimes eye catching and sensational news dwelling on sensitive topics on democratic, religions, raising silver population, stagnant economy and shrinking job openings raise pressure on the authority to act as to justify their fundamental rationale of being in power, one of the key social contract is to provide all Chinese a good life in terms of healthy trade and commerce, reasonable access to healthcare and abundant of decent of jobs opportunities for the younger generation in return of legitimacy in continuing ruling the country.
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
― Jim Carrey
p/s: The American psychologist Abraham Maslow identified a hierarchy of needs beginning with the biological and physiological imperatives of air, food, drink, shelter, warmth and rest. These proceed to the desire for protection from the elements and fear, and revolve around security, order, law and stability. A higher level involves friendship, intimacy, trust and acceptance. Then, there is the need for achievement, independence and status. Finally, the quest for the realizations of personal potential and fulfillments represents the pinnacle of the pyramid of needs.