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Is China the most materialistic country in the world?

Popularity 1Viewed 1946 times 2013-12-17 16:32 |Personal category:Life Story|System category:Life| Materialism, Luxury


"A recent survey conducted by global research firm IPSOS across 20 countries, found that a whopping 71% of Chinese say they gauge their success by the things they own."

Survey are not meant to be absolute. It is open to interpretation and with varying degree of acceptable error rate. Nonetheless it does tell a story.


It is a story of what people are spending most of their time and effort on. It highlight what the society view as success and the artefacts to show when you have become successful. Materialism provides the motivation for the people to work hard to achieve their dream and to be able to tell the whole that they have arrive.


Being a good mother to your children, a good teacher to your students and a good contributor to society, is that considered as success? Or not?


After the house is bought and the BMW driven, what was sacrificed and left behind? Does the brand new iphone replaces the time not spent with the child? What does it tell the child when family warmth is replaced by gifts?


Unfortunately this is a phase that society goes through when it climb so rapidly just like what happen to English society during the Industrial Revolution. What is needed to learn from history on how to manage the rapid growth. To understand the impact on family and personal life with these rapid societal changes. To sometimes slow down, meditate, reflect on ones life and learn to balance all the various things that are equally important to you without putting all your eggs in one single material basket.


Xi Jinping spoke about 中国梦 or China Dream. What is in your dream? Does materialism represents the entire dream? Or is there other things you would like to do, places to go to or things to discover? A dream is not a destination like buying an apartment on Pudong or landing on the moon. It is about how you would want to live your life. How you continue doing the things you love to do. How you enjoy you life with the people you love and enriches the lives of those around you.


You come from dust and return to dust. After all is done and dusted, other than the material things, what else have you to show for, the lives that you've touched and the memories you left behind. Only then can the legacies that you left behind becomes part of the country's 中国梦.



(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report Zoggles 2013-12-18 11:05
I really don't agree with this. Not with the 'results', but with the claim that this question is a measure of materialistic behaviour.

I find the west far more materialistic. They are much more concerned with their possessions and things they have accumulared over the years: gifts, trinkets, gadgets, memorabilia, souvenirs, collectibles... They might not measure their 'success' by most of their material possessions, however, they are far more attached to them and pay far more attention to collecting them. The average Chinese home has very few material possessions, but those that there are, are prized and considered a trophy of success. In the west there are far far more. Walls cluttered, shelves and cupboards filled with items - the pain of loss when burgled or after a house fire. The western person's character is almost 'defined' by their possessions - as opposed to the items being simply a measure of success.

If the survey was more specific on 'which' material items, I think every country would consider items such as a car 'a measure of success'. But when the car is only one of hundreds of items, and the other items are not considered a measure of success, the answer simply becomes a 'no' even though you could consider those people far more materialistic.
Reply Report juzunme 2013-12-18 14:00
Zoggles: I really don't agree with this. Not with the 'results', but with the claim that this question is a measure of materialistic behaviour.

I find the we ...
Well said Zoogles about the survey. The survey with made with regards the luxury market and sometimes such survey are made for the purpose of self corporate promotional activities.

Every country does have its own type of memorabilia that it treasures such as jade amongst Chinese people. The value are in its culture and its history and not necessarily materialistic. The term materialism is debatable considering different culture view different things are either necessity or luxury at different stages of development.

I'm glad to see your well weighted response as I think we need more discussion in order to move forward as a society.

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