Ronald Paredes

Founder - Chief Designer at VOZ Design,

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Rampant pursuit of economic development Versus dramatic degradation of social values. Are they related?

The 20th day of October 2011 was one of the darkest days in Chinese society. The whole country witnessed, with our heart full of tears, the death of a little 2 years old girl, named Yue Yue. She was the victim of the most horrible incident anyone could ever experience. This innocent little girl was ran over by a truck twice, then ignored by 18 bystanders while laying on the floor, and ran over again by another passing truck.
Another famous case was a man who ran over a kid with his expensive SUV, to avoid the medical expenses and the troubles he ran the child over repeatedly to make sure he was dead. Things like this happen everyday all around China.

People are afraid to help a fellow citizen in trouble because by getting involved, they take the risk of it costing them money. It is also not uncommon for some people in China to rob a good samaritan trying to help.

These are only two examples. We also see it's very difficult for some to get married because they are unable to get an apartment, vehicle, and some money saved in the bank. In big cities, like Shanghai, appearance is so important that people spend all their savings and salaries for name brands because wearing less is considered shameful. It is also common to see how rich people abuse and enslave underprivileged people for their own benefit.

It is terrifying to see how all aspects of life and society, in China, revolve around money. Making money, getting money from others, and saving money.

In a society with no religious values, poor social education, and an even poorer sense of community or civic values, how irresponsible pursuit of wealth is turning people's compassion, humanity, morals and values into materialism, selfishness, and lack of values to the point of criminality. Which matters most? Is one the result of the other?

  • Nov 19 2011: for other bystander examples: Cops: Tape Shows at Least 10 Witnesses Ignoring Minnesota ...,2933,294352,00.html

    Good Samaritan Dies on NYC Sidewalk Passersby Apr 26, 2010 - 2 min
    A Woman's pleas for help when her bicycle was stolen :,2378700

    There is no shortage of "bystander" effects---seems to be a big city thing- not just Chinese... By the way, I heard the little girl died.. :(
  • Nov 19 2011: The question is a good one, and crosses this talk with Richard Wilkinson's talk on income disparities and social health. I think the question is asking as capitalism increases the economic disparity within the community, will the overall strength of the chinese social systems be weakened?
    The stories of children ran over by SUV's is in many countries, and I'm not sure I see the relevance to the question put forth. I also disagree strongly with your last paragraph. How can you say there is no religious values, community or civic values? This ancient culture is rich with Confucianism, which started the first public schools almost 1900 years ago! The compassion shown for the little boy who saved his classmates after the earthquake ( he marched as a hero in the 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony), was touching. To Chinese, their children are the Future, precious, and even the little boy said he went back in the school because he was the "class monitor". I have been to China, and my nephew just finished his master's in Chinese Economics- in Shanghai, and married a Chinese. Their humanity and morals are about honor and beauty and what is best for the people. Do you see anything like that in the US? materialism, selfishness and criminality? Those are western traits.. read "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" and see what has been done by US corporations and government- around the world... Compare the level of charity and help the Chinese have offered third world nations, especially Africa, to that of the western world.. You would be surprised at the difference... China even offered to finance a high speed train in Florida when our Governor said we couldn't afford it ( we cannot afford to go without public transportation in the long run).
    I think your view of China is entirely devoid of understanding China- something this talk was trying to address. The question truly is better addressed with statistical data than anecdotal cases.
  • Oct 27 2011: Is that really what happens in China?? That is really messed up, I had no idea I've never been there. That disheartens me, sounds like humanity is harder to come by.
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    Oct 22 2011: I'm posting the related links if you want to read the news in detail but I must warn you, the video is very disturbing.