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Why are Chinese disinclined to show wealth?

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posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 08:08 AM
More Communist propoganda. I particularly like the last 3 paragraphs. Is this true?

Chinanews, Jan. 26 - Not only are most Chinese inclined to hide their wealth, they even insist they do not have money.

The disinclination to show wealth has been ingrained in the Chinese culture since ancient times. People today are becoming even more private about their income. Psychologists believe this attitude derives from China's thousands of years of cultural tradition, evidenced in proverbs like "a prominent bird gets shot" and "a blossoming tree will be eventually destroyed". They summarize the essence of Chinese social experience, and reflect certain characteristics of Chinese society to some degree.

Exerting a profound influence on Chinese culture for thousands of years, Confucius' doctrine of the Golden Mean promotes a humble, calm way of life. Thus formed the Chinese people's unique psychological quality of disliking self-publicity.

Since Qin Shihuang, the first Qin emperor (248 BC to 206 BC), unified China 2000 years ago, China has mostly been a unified country. In this relatively stable society, there was little competition and no basis for comparison. In this environment, ancient people did not need to reveal their wealth at all.

Chinese people's unwillingness to show wealth also has a physiological reason. Scientists found more dehydrogenates in Chinese livers than westerners' through studies of intoxicated people from various countries. This explains why alcohol poisoning occurs much less frequently in Chinese even though the alcohol content of China's "white spirit" far exceeds that of foreign liquors. The existence of dehydrogenation enzymes in the human brain may have to do with the fact that the Chinese are better at controlling their moods than Westerners.

Cultural traditions and life styles can also have an impact on brain structure.The cultural traditions, conventions, living habits and attitudes that Chinese have inherited through generations cause gradual genic and neural changes. The accumulation of such quantitative changes eventually leads to qualitative changes, or gene mutation. When the mutated genes were inherited, the disinclination towards wealth exposure passed on.

Modern scientific studies find that only the brain's left hemisphere is active in speaking foreign languages made up of alphabets. However, since the Chinese language combines sound and shape, both hemispheres are used in speaking Chinese. Therefore, it is true that the disparity between people's personalities in the East and West has a physiological basis.

Not sure which forum this is meant to go in, sorry. If this is news please add to ATSNN.

[edit on 14/7/05 by GodAtum]

posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 08:12 AM
Well, here is something for all you seclurists who believe religion is the root of all evil
, China has a large buddhist population, buddhists typically do not flaunt wealth and try to find a "middleground" or balance in their lives. this probably contributes to why they dont go out of their way to show their wealth.

posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 06:02 PM
Buddhism may have a role to play here, but then again you have to consider that Christianity doesn't exactly promote the flaunting of wealth either. It's probably the type of government more than anything. With communism, there is emphasis on the group and on cooperation, in contrast to the individualistic, highly competitive nature of people in a democracy. The ultimate goal of individualists is to be at the top of the ladder and to accumulate wealth, and although the social structure in China is also a hierarchy, there is still the goal of cooperation with everyone and avoidance of confrontation which is why they may avoid flaunting their wealth.

About the article GodAtum, I strongly disagree with the second to last paragraph which states that their modest nature is a result of mutations. The most important factor I believe in creating a modest people is the social environment. The children are brought up in a collectivist culture in which cooperation and 'face' is the norm. They are exposed to this ideal through the media in all its forms, and especially through human interactions. I do however admit that genetics could play a small role. Over time with a collectivist culture, it's possible that through Survival of the fittest, the individualist, more agressive people would be 'weeded out' in a sense, and the more cooperative people would thrive. Maybe the cooperative nature of some groups of people better helped them to survive. However, I doubt that genetics would have that great an impact on their modest behavior. If you want to check it out, I've pasted an exerpt from a site explaining the cultural differences between the Americans and the Chinese. It's not all about modesty, but you can see how certain other differences may result in a more modest person:

Conception Of the Self

Chinese--Collectivist: Higher value placed on group cooperation and individual modesty.
American--Individualist: Higher value placed on self-reliance. Self-promotion is more accepted. High value placed on "freedom" from externally imposed constraints.

Social Relationships

Chinese--Formal, hierarchical. People most comfortable in the presence of a hierarchy in which they know their position and the customs/rules for behavior in the situation.
American--Informal, egalitarian. People most comfortable with their social equals; importance of social rankings minimized.


Chinese--Small number of close, lifelong friends who feel deeply obligated to give each other whatever form of help might seem required.
American--Large collection of "friends" and acquaintances which changes over time and involves only limited mutual obligations.


Chinese--Relationships with other people involve reciprocal obligations.
American--People avoid interdependent relationships and situations that might entail long-term obligations.

Task vs. Relationship Orientation

Chinese--Relationship-oriented: Maintaining a harmonious relationship has priority over accomplishing tasks.
American--Task-oriented. Relationships are less important than getting the work done.

Harmony vs. "Truth"

Chinese--Avoid direct confrontation, open criticism, and controversial topics. Concern maintaining harmony and with "face."
American--Willing to confront directly, criticize, discuss controversial topics, press personal opinions about what they consider "the truth. Little concern with "face."

Role of laws, rules, and regulations

Chinese--More faith in personal relationships than in written rules and procedures for structuring interactions.
American--Written rules presumably apply to everyone and are assumed to produce fair, reasonable procedures and decisions.

Time Consciousness

Chinese--Relatively more attention to the past and to the longer-term future.
American--Less interested in the past; eye on near-term future.

Ascribed vs. Achieved Status

Chinese--Traditionally, a person's status in the society was based importantly on inherited characteristics such as age, gender, and family. This is changing.
American--People's status is based mainly on their own achievements, including education obtained and level of success realized in their line of work.

[edit on 14-7-2005 by zhangmaster]

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 05:11 AM
Thanks for the link zhangmaster.

In the point about social hierarchy:

Chinese--Formal, hierarchical. People most comfortable in the presence of a hierarchy in which they know their position and the customs/rules for behavior in the situation.
American--Informal, egalitarian. People most comfortable with their social equals; importance of social rankings minimized.

I think Americans have a sort of hierarchy based on wealth, in that case they would need to show their wealth to know what position they are on the hierarchy.

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