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Disparity of Income Distribution: A Long March from Pyramid Pattern to Olive

Yu Jianrong, a professor at the State’s Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, predicts that it will take another 30 years for China to move from the current pyramid pattern of income distribution to one that is olive-shaped. The pyramid pattern of income distribution is used to describe the great disparity of income, intense social conflicts, and the lack of a middle class as a buffer, while an olive-shaped pattern denotes the existence of a large middle class with relatively small groups of rich and poor. Hence it is more conducive to social stability. Yu holds that a middle class has not yet formed in China whatsoever. “For example, the popular ‘hatred of the rich’, ‘hatred of government’ and other social discontent and resentment are both the evidence and ‘combustion’ that has induced large-scale incidents of conflict by social groups to vent their anger.” “People at the bottom are growing in numbers, albeit economic development and improvement of living standard for the bottom society.” “Objectively, the white-collar workers are a little bit more capable of making money, but speaking of their social situation or political status, they are the same [as migrant workers],” says Yu.

Source: International Herald Leader, April 19, 2010