La 11 ianuarie 2005, Gallup a publicat rezultatele unui sondaj efectuat pe 15,000 chinezi in urma a peste 3600 ore de interviuri. Datele studiului "Chinese Far Wealthier Than a Decade Ago -- but Are They Happier?" sunt concludente:
"Gallup recently completed our fourth comprehensive nationwide survey of the People's Republic of China -- nearly 3,600 hour-long, in-person, in-home interviews conducted across both urban and rural areas of the country. Findings from the latest survey will be presented in coming weeks exclusively to Gallup Poll On Demand subscribers. This ambitious project dates back to 1994, when Gallup conducted the first-ever nationwide survey of China's citizens using strict, probability-based sampling procedures. Similarly exhaustive hour-long surveys were conducted in 1997 and 1999.
Gallup has now interviewed more than 15,000 Chinese adults across every province and autonomous administrative unit in the country -- from rural areas of inner Mongolia to urban Guangzhou; from Heilongjiang on the border with Russian Siberia to tropical Hainan Island in the Gulf of Tonkin; in Tibet (Xizang) and in predominantly Muslim Xinjiang on the border with Afghanistan."
"A Decade of Rapidly Rising Living Standards, Particularly in Urban Areas
As the current survey's findings document, the change in the living standards of China's people over the last decade is nothing short of astonishing -- surely the most dramatic transformation ever witnessed by more than a fifth of mankind over such a brief period. Nationwide, average reported household incomes are now nearly 2 1/2 times what respondents reported in 1994.
The bulk of this dramatic income growth occurred among China's urban residents, who are now, on average, three times as affluent as their rural counterparts. But even rural incomes -- which have stagnated in recent years -- are nearly double what they were a little over a decade ago. This dramatic rise in affluence has been accompanied by a remarkable degree of change in the everyday lives of China's 1.3 billion people.
In Gallup's initial 1994 nationwide survey, only a minority (40%) of Chinese households had a color television set, just one in four owned a refrigerator, 1 in 10 had a landline telephone, and only 3% owned a mobile phone. Video compact disc players? They had only recently been invented. Our latest survey indicates that color televisions and landline phones have become the norm rather than the exception in Chinese homes -- 82% of households have the former, 63% the latter. Nearly half (48%) of China's roughly 400 million households now own at least one mobile phone. Even more remarkable is that at least half (52%) of all Chinese households now own a VCD player -- double the percentage that owned a refrigerator in 1994."
Intr-adevar, din 1994 pana in 2004, perioada acoperita de sondajele Gallup, veniturile din zona rurala, cea urbana si cele nationale au crescut constant si relevant, dupa cum reiese din graficul de mai jos:
Scaderea satisfactiei de viata
"despite impressive growth in average household income, the ratio of Chinese expressing satisfaction to those expressing dissatisfaction has actually eroded somewhat over time", noteaza cei de la Gallup, si isi demonstreaza spusele prin graficul de mai jos:
Comparand cele doua grafice, se observa traiectoria in crestere constanta a veniturilor pentru toate categoriile sociale ale Chinei, in timp ce satisfactia de viata are, din 1997 pana in 2004, o traiectorie descrescatoare. De pilda, in 1994, doar 2% se considerau foarte nefericiti, in 1997 procentul se tripleaza la 7%, pentru ca in 1999 si 2004 sa ajunga la 8%. Procentul celor destul de nemultumiti creste de la 12% in 1994, la 20%, 22% si 29%. Desi e adavart ca procentul celor foarte multumiti creste din 1994 in 1997 de la 9% la 19%, e la fel de adevarat ca pe masura ce veniturile cresc, procentul scade de la 19% la 12%.
Zonele mai putin avute, la fel de multimite precum cele mai bogate
Un alt aspect menit sa nege relevanta factorilor materiali pentru fericirea populatiei este acela ca fericirea din zonele mai sarace, rurale, este identica cu cea din zonele mai avute, urbane.
"It is interesting to note that there is no significant difference between the self-reported satisfaction of China's urban and rural residents, notwithstanding the enormous (and growing) gap in affluence between China's cities and its countryside. The proportion of rural residents describing themselves as "satisfied" is statistically equal to the percentage among their city-dwelling counterparts -- a pattern that has persisted across all four waves of Gallup's survey."
Un alt studiu sociologic efectuat de Gallup, publicat de aceasta data in 23 noiembrie 2007 si intitulat "Chinese Consumers Trying Hard to Make Ends Meet", demonstreaza ca pe masura ce veniturile cresc, oamenii sunt tot mai nemultumiti de banii pe care ii au, caci aspiratiile materiale cresc direct proportional si ceea ce odinioara era considerat lux, devine nevoie.
"Results are based on face-to-face interviews with more than 3,500 adults per year in China, aged 18 and older, conducted in 1997, 2004, and 2006. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls."Aspiratii materiale crescute
"Beyond the measure of self-reported household income, Gallup Polls in China ask consumers about their household expenditures in areas ranging from food and rent to medical costs. There is also a summary question regarding how much income their families need for their basic requirements. The latter question measures not what Chinese consumers might wish for or dream about, but rather simply what they deem necessary to live their lives. Here the data are importantly revealing, as these increases often dwarf the growth in reported household income. While household incomes are up 72% since 1997, the average household's financial requirement "just to get by" has more than doubled in nine years. Together, the data reveal what is for many an important gap between household resources and household needs, a gap between how much money is available and how much is perceived as necessary."
Asadar, desi familia obisnuita din China si-a vazut veniturile crescute cu peste 70%, chinezii considera ca doar pentru a se descurca si a cumpara bunurile necesare trebuie sa cheltuiasca de doua ori mai mult decat in urma cu 9 ani. Evident, dupa cum am arat si cu alte ocazii, luxul de odinioara, caruia majoritatea populatiei nu ii ducea lipsa, s-a transformat in obisnuinta si necesitate, astfel incat desi veniturile au crescut, fericirea si satisfactia nici pe departe.
Dupa cum scrie pe saitul Gallup: "While rural Chinese household incomes averaged about 11,500 RMB in 2006, these rural dwellers feel they need 22% more than that "just to get by." These findings suggest rural Chinese have greatly redefined what they feel they absolutely must have, which now likely includes a color TV and a mobile phone. Products that rural Chinese once deemed luxuries are now seen as requirements. As a result, what people believe they need to get by is increasing at a rate faster than incomes."
In concluzie, "The net result may be that, despite the apparent gap between income and requirements, Chinese consumers may recognize that they now possess a good deal more than they did a decade ago. They're neither thrilled nor particularly content with the income levels they've achieved. And yet their household glass, while not completely full, is certainly not empty. Nevertheless, it's apparent that many Chinese consumers are feeling a tighter economic pinch as they try to match their resources with their changing requirements."
Adica imbogatirea i-a facut pe chinezi sa se simta mai saraci si mai presati de "nevoile zilnice".
Un al treilea studiu efectuat de Gallup, publicat la 22 februarie 2005, insumeaza perfect rezultatele primelor doua. Intitulat "Keeping Up With the Zhangs: China's Affluents on Buying Spree", studiul arata ca nici bogatii Chinei nu sdunt mai fericiti si ca si in cazul lor luxul s-a tranformat in necesitate: obiecte ale caror posesie nu le sporeste fericirea, dar a caror lipsa le sporeste nefericirea.
"Despite their comparatively high incomes, affluent Chinese are not necessarily satisfied with either their lives or their current earnings. In 1997, 24% of those making 30,000 RMB or more annually indicated they were "very satisfied" with the way things were going in their lives. In 2004, that percentage had dropped to only 16%. As incomes have increased and the size of the upper-income group has grown, their satisfaction has dropped. It appears increased affluence has simply gone hand in hand with greater expectations and requirements. While the "new affluents" may have more now, they are clearly not more content. This trend among affluent Chinese is consistent with the satisfaction numbers for the country as whole, which also show satisfaction decreasing as income increases (see "Chinese Far Wealthier Than a Decade Ago -- but Are They Happier?" in Related Items).
Their satisfaction hasn't grown, but the well-to-do Chinese have managed to acquire the consumer goods that represent "the good life." The typical affluent household already has what the rest of China wants: phones, refrigerators, washing machines, and color televisions. They're also well on their way to having what others may simply dream about: microwaves, stereos, computers, and air conditioners.
While Chinese affluents have already acquired quite a bit, they're still planning to buy more. Many are adding to or upgrading what they already own. Even though ownership of a color television is already universal among the relatively well-to-do, about one in three (34%) in this group plan to buy another color set in the next few years. An even larger percentage (42%) plans to buy a mobile phone. These figures may reflect a desire among affluents to stay "current," as well as a belief that attractive product enhancements (such as picture phones instead of "plain vanilla" handhelds) will soon become available. Thus, there's little evidence of product saturation, and the upscale Chinese household remains a crucially important target audience for marketers of all sorts of manufactured goods. They have the means, and they have the desire."
Din nou si din nou reiese in mod clar acelas lucru: bogatia materiala nu e capabila sa sporeasca fericirea, ci doar sa ii faca pe oameni sa se simta saraci si in nevoie oricat de mult ar acumula. Este clar deci ca accentul pus pe dezvoltarea economica si goana dupa bani nu e o cale de urmat atunci cand cautam fericirea, ce nu poate fi gasita cu adevarat in aspectele non-pecuniare ale vietii.