Author: lasy2004

the difference between the chinese and american's attitude to their life [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 4

Post time 2004-2-12 09:08:00 |Display all floors

an average working American

I might not represent all Americans, but I'll write about what I know and feel.

In the USA, people are described as being "upper class", "middle class" and "lower class".  What the definition of each of these is, I don't know.  All I know is that there are rich people, poor people, and those of us in-between.

I would say that I am somewhere between "middle class" and "lower class".  My wife and I both work.  Together we earn about $30,000 per year.  Of course, this is not all spending money.  Some of it is paid to the government as taxes (thats where all the money for welfare, social security and other things come from).  We do not own a house, so much of what we earn goes for rent.  We also have to pay for utilties:  electricity, water, sewer, telephone, natural gas.  Then we have to eat.  We have no children- we have decided that for now it would be best to wait.  And it seems like we need a new car about every 5 or 6 years.  We can't afford to buy new cars, so we buy nice looking cars that are new, but used.  This usually depletes us of every dime we have managed to save.

We have credit cards, but we do not have credit card debt.  I do not believe that it is wise for a person to go into debt, and I don't think it is right for people to declare bankrupcy when they have lived beyond their means intentionally.

We try to save as much money as we can.  I feel we are lucky if we can save 10% of our earnings.  I also have a retirement plan, and hopefully we will have enough money to last us once we retire at age 65 or 70 (provided we live that long).  I also try to invest some of my earnings in hopes that it will grow and suppliment our savings.

I don't feel that a person should have to work his fingers to the bone and get no enjoyment from life.  So we try to enjoy ourselves.  We visit relatives that live across the US about once each year.  We fly there and spend a lot of money to visit them.  We also enjoy taking a vacation every now and then.  Sometimes we will go snow skiing in the mountains.  This year we found an inexpensive package to London, and that was our vacation.  Sadly, we can only take vacations like that once every 2 or 3 years, because we cannot afford to do it more often.

I feel very lucky to be able to travel as much as we do.  I know that many people cannot even do these things because they are so poor they just merely exist.

Most people on welfare are not "lucky".  Perhaps they have been injured, or are sick.  Perhaps their husband was a loser and left his wife alone with 6 children.

Others take advantage of the welfare system when they could be working.  Each case is different, and the system is far from perfect.  In fact, it often angers many hard-working honest Americans.

I think that it is nice when parents leave their children an inheritance.  For example, in the Bible, land and animals were an inheritance.  At the same time, I don't think that children should "expect" an inheritance- they certainly have not earned one.   I can see that many people find great joy and meaning in working hard, and having something to pass on to future generations- even after they are gone.

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Post time 2004-2-12 09:40:53 |Display all floors

Global Economy...based on Debt

Meiguoracing, your comments on the Capitalist System was beautifully said:
"Such is the goal of global corporations: They manufacture things very cheaply and mark up the retail price many times what it cost to make. Then, those corporations spend many billions of dollars to make people want their useless trash. A part of the capitalist system is to try to force easy credit on people"

We in American are sold a number of items, that our parents would never have purchased (my parents worked hard for their money and had only three things in mind: A roof over their heads, bread on the table and clothes to an Education for their children).

Today in America we have so many things, that we have to rent storage facilities to keep the overflow of unused items, such as unused furniture, books, old magazines, etc.

Money has become only a means to obtain things, which are constantly shown to us on TV and magazines.  Additionally, we have a saying here of "keeping up with the Jones's", which means that if our neighbor buys a new car we should also buy one...just to be the same!  

I have a married Daughter, who is a "total consumer"!  She has so many things that it makes me angry just to see how much she buys, since she calls me for financial help to pay her debts.  It is indeed a sickness, which is called Indulgence!  Many people buy so much that their children expect even more the next time their is a Birthday or Christmas holiday.

A number of years ago, when my daughter was celebrating her Sixteenth (16) Birthday, she was quite dissappointed not to have a new Car with a ribbon tied around it sitting outside her window.  I was quite amazed when I realized she was quite serious.  It seemed that most of her friends in school had recieved such Gifts!  My first car was a $100. fixer upper...

As a country, we are building up a Huge Debt, both in our Government and personal lives.  China is emerging as a great country, but will also pick up many of the American ways, if they have not already done so.

I am as guilty as the next of buying more than I need, but have begun to realize the danger and have curtailed my buying and increased my savings.  It is nice to see, that the people of China do save money.

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Post time 2004-2-12 21:34:38 |Display all floors

so so

in my opinion,the difference is just ok! why? chinese have different growing background,this is a history course,and there is no right and wrong!

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Post time 2004-2-12 22:44:08 |Display all floors

not really

Miamiflorida, I think you may have my quotes mixed up with those of Blue Tiger.  I don't fault corporations at all.  If I worked in the PR or advertising dept. of a consumer product corp., I would do everything possible and legal to make it easy and desireable to buy my product.  That's their job and that's why I buy stock in their company - to make a profit.  I don't care about social lessons, fairness, blah blah.  Business is business.  The soft side is for the family and friends.  But it's a jungle out there and if you don't sell your product, someone else will sell theirs and you will be working for them.

I went to very good private school with a lot of rich kids.  My parents were not rich, but worked very hard to be able to afford to send me there, as they knew the value of a good education.  On my graduation day I saw a friend get a Porsche, another already had a Ferrari, a few more had Corvettes etc.  I also knew kids who had to get on a bus to ride home to their parents' house in a bad part of New York City.

My parents gave me a 1970 BMW 2002 that cost $800 in 1988.  I worked on it a lot, worked a few jobs to pay for parts and labor and had a very nice, but cheap car when it was done.  If I had ever once even pretended to not appreciate what my parents had done for me, my dad would have smashed the car and ripped up my license.

I don't have kids yet.  But when I do, they will know the value of the dollar and hard work.  I was flipping burgers at Wendy's when I was 15 and mowed lawns before that, since I was too young to get working papers.  I have never been unemployed for more than one day.  I've been laid off before, but always looked for a restaurant job on the way home from getting laid off and as a result, I always had work.  My parents were never poor, but they weren't rich either (not then anyway).  Much more important than any money they could have given me, they gave me a work ethic and sense of self, so that I will never be poor, will never be on welfare and can always find some other job if I must.

I make decent money now and live better than most people who make three times what I make, because I have no credit card debt.  I bought my house when I was 26 and making very little money.  I can sell it anytime now for a huge profit.  Pay your own mortgage or pay someone else's.  Don't ever take on credit card debt.

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Post time 2004-2-13 00:31:59 |Display all floors

a matter of perspectives

hi.  I originally spent a long time on a note here, but apparently the session timed out, so it all went away.

I think the original question is difficult to answer, for there are such large differences in the commonly seen aspects of each society, but the underlying foundations are often not seen, or the importance is not realized by outsiders.

some of these anologies will not be overly accurate to many people, but they will help put things into perspective regarding America.

America is really just the Central Goverment which collects taxes and governs and protects the 50 states which make up America, hence "United States of America"

Each state also has it's own government and it's own taxes and it's own welfare system.  As such, it's hard to even compare within the USA, for each state has it's own agendas which they view as important.  

Some states have a functional welfare system which teaches to people, who live in poverty, a trade for which they can earn money on their own and be somewhat independent.  Other states may offer the barest of assistance of food & shelter to those in need.  One realizes America is only about 226 years old, and welfare only begun 50 or so years ago, and already it is in trouble.  In many states, too many people are raised within the welfare system and don't seem to be able to rise above it, and there is less and less money greanted for it, for the rest of Americans are who actually pay for welfare with their tax dollars, and most would rather not.

America was the 1st to embrace consumerism, and as a result, many Americans know nothing else.  We live in a disposable world where corporations make products intented for only one use then thrown away.  At first, they are sold cheaply, but after a while, they are deemed as "part of life" and the price goes up to match.

I think the worst thing about consumerism is it seems to teach "new is better."  So people will often use up their credit offered by the banks and go into debt to buy something new.  There are so many things to buy and use up one's credit on, many trivial.  At the other extreme, a new car normally takes 5 years to be paid off.  A house, new or old, takes usually 30 years to pay off.

Most people in America don't have savings to last more than 1 month of loss of a good job.  So for a rainy day, if they cannot recover before their money runs out, then the banks then take back the house and the car, for Welfare only covers the barest of necessities and will not help people maintain anything above poverty level.

A good way to view the social there are only 2 classes.  Upper class has enough money for their wants & needs and their parents have had the same.  Their estates are usually passed on for generations and kept in the family.

Lower class people are struggling to aquire or maintain the necessities of life in America, though many have credit cards and some can afford to buy a house through a 30 year loan.

Middle class is made up of family lineages who at some time either worked their way out of lower class or fell from the upper class. They have enough to focus on things that make them happy and to help ensure their childrens success - usually thru education & upbringing.

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Post time 2004-2-15 13:10:51 |Display all floors

differences to observe - not judge

The American person's attitude towards his life varies from person to person.  For some religion is the center of their life.  For others family and relationships are most important.  For some the pursuit of career and wealth are the primary goal.  For some survival (putting food on the table) dominates their thoughts and time.  Still others seek to improve themselves, their communities, their country, and their world.

It is part of the American culture for parents to want their children to be better off than themselves.  For some parents this is economic assistance and for other parents it is a good education.  I have only visited China briefly but I see no difference between Chinese parents and American parents when it comes to wanting prosperity for their children.

It may surprise tracyliang to learn that there are those in America that worry about debt just like people in China.  Some Americans are financially responsible and some are learning the hardway to be financially responsible.  Everything in moderation.  Some debt is good.  It provides stability for society.  It allows the purchasing of homes which will, on average, increase in value.  Too much debt is bad.

Individualism is a cornerstone of American society which is why there is great diversity in America.  Diversity of ethinicity, religion, customs, recreation, entertainment, and ethical practices of its citizens.  While in China I noticed that Chinese seem to behave with the society in mind rather than themselves.

Perhaps a native Chinese could elaborate on this.

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Post time 2004-2-16 15:10:00 |Display all floors


Chinese parents almost give all of their life to their children which means they'll depend on them more especially mentally.Many young people in China won't feel happy about anything can hurt their parents  even they're doing what  they love to do.Then there're so  many adult girls or boys who cannot leave their parents for most of the parents don't want them to go far.

How can you deal with the lovely papa or mama : they contribute their youth to you; they lose thier happiness for you sometime.Americans will consider it incredible: but why? Life is for one's own. However it's true in China.

In this sense the powerful shackle for the real and free life is love and the dicision to go beyond it.

Attitude for life really depends on environment a lot and only attitude is not enough.

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