The New Chinese Ship Load Line

An audacious pursue for wealth in China is increasingly likely to face macroscopic hurdles and deep skepticism about the level of meaningful fulfillment amid recent major economic restructuring from export led business to driving local domestic consumption as the next new growth engine with many Chinese had inevitably embrace the social contract of guaranteed progressive economic gains forgoing more political autonomy pledged by current Chinese administrator.

As a results, significant economic transformation took place for hundred of million of Chinese households since the 1980s; everybody ranging from migrant workers, factory workers to executive and so on enjoyed unprecedented access to decent jobs and plenty of business opportunities had also helped created many new upper income individuals and private entities, however the era of  sailing these ships in these water allowed rather deep “ship load line” limit satisfying all kind of inspiration is over as one begin to observe  increasing number of wages and labor disputes all over China where the Chinese State had since mandated a minimum increment of wages from rather lower baseline in the past few decades until it now becomes unsustainable for majority of the business operations of which had either winded up business or relocated. The transition to lower growth therefore present a challenges to Chinese Government to maintain the integrity of the social contracts.

“You can have it all. Just not all at once.”― Oprah Winfrey

Yet many people continue to rush to get on the bullet trains of prosperity not unlike their predecessors , not recognizing the underlying depression or anxiety driving these phenomena were actually the fear of losing out and lack of self esteem; need for respect from others and manifests itself as the need for self-respect; relies on an inner competence established through experience. The obsession to wealth reflects a widening push to establish more self-esteem climbing along the  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

As a matter of fact, Chinese is particularly weak in self esteem, having no right to vote to have  a say on their destiny and often compromising self-interests for the sake of the higher course of Party’s interest; Many houses were demolished or forced relocation making ways for mega infrastructures like the high speed rails and so on despite being well compensated. Farmers were clustered into new satellite multistory townships with slim chances of integration uprooting from their precious plots of soils which provided probably the only dependable sustenance for generations.

Fears of a prospects of inferior life economically further pressuring many irrationally on acquiring wealth as a hedge against uncertainties ahead, as a result, many were cruising with depressed “ship load line” vaingloriously overloaded with far too much desires in the uncharted water either not being able to accept the status quo or refuse to compromise comparing with one another rather than having a solid faith of self-worth and self-respects on one’s need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence, and freedom for their higher self-esteem.

Our business in life is not to get ahead of other people, but to get ahead of ourselves.”– Maltbie Babcock, clergyman and writer

On the contrary, worries of a contagion effect from China’s slowdown are overblown. For they assume that the country’s enormous economy plays a proportionate role in driving global growth. In reality, the impact of a dramatic and sustained downturn would likely be more psychological than material and will take a toll on the self-esteem. Not unlike Ship complying to the “ship load line” for stable voyage depending on the specified water types and temperatures in order to safely maintain buoyancy. Individual had to take an assessment of the situation and offload non essential desires like the need to seek fame or glory of which will not help the person to build their self-esteem until they accept who they are internally.

This debacle dramatically underscores a new change of direction in the governance of China under President Xi Jin ping. Decision making has become top down, more rushed and far less predictable probably as to further strengthening the regime as the Country progressing into middle to upper income state where people will inevitably demand for higher autonomy and having a say in how an administration should be managed if decades of years of good times enjoyed beginning to look uncertain ahead. It’s a potent reminder that nothing is so blinding as the illusion of seeing.

In summary, its time to adjust the New ship load line for many Chinese into the Era of slower growth avoiding massive capsize ahead, extraordinary efforts are also needed to continue to maintain high esteem levels through accepting perhaps the current hybrid system of authoritative Communist and planned economics are the only effective way uniquely for China. One cant have the best of both world forever; western style democratic and high degree of materialistic prosperity at least not during the transition period. 

“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”― Mahatma Gandhi

P/S: The water line also know as “Plimsoll line” establishing a legal limit to which a ship may be loaded for a specified water types and temperature in order to safely maintain buoyancy after countless capsize accident due to overloading in 1800s.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom[1]


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