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简述:消费和消费主义(中国报道之七)

在第七篇一系列有关全球变暖热门话题的背景介绍文章中,玛莉安•贝德写到,国家无论富与穷必需减少消费对他们自己国家自然资源的影响。

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自中国从20多年前开始结构性改革以来,已经发展成为世界第二大经济体,平均增长率达到了9.5%,并在过去十年里实现翻番。通过跳跃式发展,中国正变得更加富有,从新的建筑、对能源的需求和马路上更多的汽车,到远途旅游和能够买到最时尚的消费品,这种变富的过程显而易见。

随着世界各国都从中国低成本生产中获益,中国通过生产和进口,也正在向其国民提供一个消费品和服务的新世界,中国人在消费这些商品和服务时也总是腰包鼓鼓。但是,在传统上崇尚节俭的中国,其不断成长的消费文化和消费主义对环境造成了严重影响。

世界观察研究所发表的《2004年世界状况报告》关注的是消费主义。报告说,当美国人和西欧人“已经在过去的几十年里控制了非可持续性过度消费时,发展中国家以环境、健康和幸福为代价,正在重蹈覆辙”。报告说,“现在全球大约有17亿人,也就是世界总人口的四分之一强,已经进入了消费阶层,这些消费者采取了在上个世纪只限于欧洲、北美和日本这些富有国家的饮食习惯、交通手段和生活方式”。中国和其它发展中国家有越来越多的国民正在进行此类消费,尤其是在大城市里。但是贫富差距仍然很明显,“地球上有28亿人还在为每天不到2美元的收入苦苦挣扎,超过10亿人的饮用安全水缺乏保障”。

世界观察研究所的报告承认,为了生存,人们必须消费,“世界上最穷的人要想过上有尊严、有机遇的生活,就需要提高消费档次。但是世界不能继续按目前的轨道发展,地球的自然系统根本无法长期支撑此类消费。大规模消费型经济在20世纪为很多人带来了一个物质极大丰富的世界,但这种经济模式在21世纪面临一个完全不同的挑战:考虑到尽量不对环境造成伤害,把关注的重心从不加节制的商品积累转移到找出一条确保全人类都能过上更好生活的道路上来。” 

随着中国消费者的消费对全球经济造成压力,世界观察研究所近期发表的《2006年世界状况报告》提出了一个严峻的问题:“世界生态系统能够承受这种可预见的碳排放量增加,森林面积减少,物种灭绝等破坏吗?2005《千年生态系统评估》的答案是不能”。《千年生态系统评估》是由世界卫生组织发布的针对生态系统和人类健康的联合国千年评估报告,报告认为,在过去50年中,人类的活动改变地球物种多样性比历史上任何时期都要多,而如果这种活动继续的话,将会带来致命的后果。

中国以不断增长的消费迎接“第一世界”的生活方式时,其需求可以从多个方面进行衡量。《中国日报》报道说,就照明、空调、电脑和其它办公室设备而言,“中国约700万公务员消耗全国每年电量的5%,这些电量足够满足7.8亿农民的需要”。

在一个全球化的世界里,那些以前远离发展中国家的被视为奢侈品的商品和服务现在正被许多人看作生活必需品,比如电视机、手机、其它电器、汽车和乘飞机旅行。国际知名品牌的服装和其它产品充斥中国的大城市,尤其是在北京和上海,西式餐厅和咖啡连锁店的数量也在不断增加。消费主义在中国已经被定义为一种新的“主义”,它把快乐与物质商品联系在一起,并有助于拉动经济

与消费主义相提并论的是消费行为,在某些情况下,消费意味着把一种资源全部消耗掉。中国的国民享受第一世界生活方式的目标将使世界的人类资源使用加倍。根据贾德·戴蒙在2005年出版的《崩溃:社会如何选择成功或失败》中的说法,中国是世界上煤矿和化肥最生要的生产和消费国,杀虫剂的第二大生产和消费国,钢产量排名第一,发电量排名第二,化工纺织产品也位居第二,也是世界上第三大石油消费国。除了能源消费、空气污染程度和对石油的需求,中国的汽车产量也位居世界第三,仅次于美国和日本。

中国的木材消耗同样居世界第三,这些木材是乡村地区的能源(柴火),也被用在纸和纸桨业以及蓬勃发展的建筑行业。(戴蒙的报告说,“即使中国人口总数保持不变,规划中的中国每户家庭人口到2015年减少到2.7人,也将增加1.26亿个新家庭,这比美国所有家庭的总数都要多”。)由于对森林滥伐无度,在1996和1998年的严重水灾之后,国家颁布了禁伐自然林的命令,而中国也正赶超日本成为世界第一大热带林木的进口国。戴蒙说,自从有了禁令后,中国的木材进口增加了6倍,砍伐森林转移到了其它国家。

中国对木材的需求对地球的森林资源造成了巨大压力,但环境保护主义者说,并不止中国一个国家在控制日益猖獗的非法木材进口交易方面做得不够或根本无所作为。世界自然基金会在2005年的一份题为《中国的木材市场、交易和环境》的报告中说,在那些被疑为非法砍伐和交易的木材中,中国是最重要的目的地之一。中国超过一半的进口木材来自俄罗斯、印度尼西亚和马来西亚,这些国家都在与滥伐、自然林的作业变更和非法砍伐作斗争。

中国的日益富足也导致了对肉类和鱼类更多的需求。在东北,三江平原的淡水沼泽地已经被改造为农田。对肉类更大的需求带来的是更大规模的谷物生产,以用来饲养动物。人均鱼消费量在过去的四分之一世纪中已经增加了5倍,中国同时还出口鱼类、软体动物和其它水产。中国的渔民们已经把渔网撒到了世界各处,包括在诱人的非洲西南海域里搜捕鱼类(这些行为并不全是合法的)。过度捕捞还发生在中国的深海和沿岸地区。包括太平洋环境拯救中国海洋网络在内的组织正掀起一场声势日益浩大的运动,即寻求“帮助消费者关注他们的饮食选择将如何影响到海洋的物产”。

由于工业和市政废水排污,再加上农业和水产养殖过程中化肥、杀虫剂和粪肥废料的排泄,河流和地下水源的水质变差。所有的含养份排泄物导致了藻类的过度集中,这个过程即水体的加富过程。贾德·戴蒙在书中写道,“中国约75%的湖泊以及几乎所有的近海海域都被污染了。中国海洋中的赤潮(浮游生物大量繁殖,对鱼类和其它海洋生物有毒害作用的生态现象)已经增加到每年接近100次,而在上世纪60年代每五年才出现1次。”

所有这些生产和消费行为对中国资源造成的致命伤害似乎还没到无以附加的程度,中国还从世界各国进口未经处理的垃圾进行处理,包括电子设备和有毒废物。正如戴蒙所说,“这表明污染从第一世界直接向中国转移”。

如同美国、欧洲、日本和印度一样,中国占用的“生态足迹”正在超标,这是由环境分析家马蒂·瓦克纳格尔设计的用来测量被人类占用的生态空间的资源管理工具。世界观察研究所2006年的年度报告说,“生态足迹分析测量的是一个经济体对自然的需求:所消耗的资源和由此产出的废料。”通过将一个国家的生态足迹与其生物生产空间的全球公顷的数量进行比较,来确定它是否在其生态方式内生存。“如果一个国家的生态足迹比它的生态承载力要大,那么它的经济正在消耗更多的森林、农田和其它该国可以提供的资源,而且正超过国内环境吸收废料的能力。”

世界观察研究所的报告说,“世界最大和最工业化的经济体砍伐森林比再造森林更快,抽取地下水比灌注更快,向大气中释放不能被安全吸收的碳,这些经济体本质上是在消耗它们的生态资本。”按人头来算,生态承载力的不均更明显。全球人均生态足迹为2.3全球公顷,中国人均1.6全球公顷,欧洲人平均水平为4.7全球公顷,美国人是9.7全球公顷。

当中国(和印度)继续快速发展,全球生态足迹也在增加。世界观察研究所的报告说,“如果到2030年仅中国和印度两国要达到今天日本的人均生态足迹水平,两国将需要整个地球的资源来满足它们的需求”。

戴蒙在《崩溃:社会如何选择成功或失败》中说,“不让中国追求第一世界的消费水平,它显然不能接受。但是,世界也无力承受中国和其它第三世界国家与目前的第一世界国家都按第一世界的水平进行消费”。

不论其人口和实力,世上的发达和发展中国家一样,都需要大胆行动起来,以便妥善管理其自然资源(尤其是森林和渔场)。只有通过减少资源消耗的环境影响,我们这个相互关联的世界才能够为所有人提供一个未来。

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作者简介: 玛莉安是一位驻伦敦的记者

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匿名 | Anonymous

作者观点似乎偏激了点

作者此文观点似乎偏激了点,在减少占用“地球足迹”方面,我觉得发达国家应该比发展中国家负有更大的责任和义务,毕竟是他们抢先占用了过多的地球资源,在很大程度上是没有资格来指责发展中国家的很多做法的。当然发展中国家也最好不要重蹈发达国家的覆辙。

The writer's standpoint is a bit extreme

This writer's opinion seems a bit extreme. I feel that developed countries have more of a duty and a responsibility to reduce their 'global footprint' than developing countries; after all, it is they who are rushing to use up most of the world's resources, and are really not in any position to find fault with the paths taken by developing countries. But of course it would be better if developing countries do not repeat the same mistakes as developed countries.

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匿名 | Anonymous

戴蒙先生的话是什么意思呢?

戴蒙在《崩溃:社会如何选择成功或失败》中说,“不让中国追求第一世界的消费水平,它显然不能接受。但是,世界也无力承受中国和其它第三世界国家与目前的第一世界国家都按第一世界的水平进行消费”。
这段话太荒谬了,只许州官放火,不许百姓点灯?第三世界国家活该受穷?我觉得第一世界国家应该首先反省自己!想一想自己把多少污染和能源消耗转移到了第三世界国家?敌意的指责和恐惧于事无补。既然已经占尽便宜,那么善意的帮助和引导也许更有助于第三世界国家减少他们发展中的生态足迹。

What does Diamond mean?

Jared Diamond writes in "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive" that "China will, of course, not tolerate being told not to aspire to first world levels. But the world cannot sustain China and other third-world countries and current first-world countries all operating at first-world levels." This statement is ridiculous, it's a clear case of double-standards. Should third-world countries suffer poverty? I think first-world countries need to do some soul-searching first! What about the pollution and consumption of resources they are responsible for in the third world? But hostile accusations and fear will not help the situation. Although first-world countries have already profited at others' expense, well-meaning offers of help and guidance can aid third-world countries in reducing the ecological footprint of their development.

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匿名 | Anonymous

“责任”问题

这是在讨论发展中国家的环境或消耗议题时经常触及的。面对污染日益严重的事实,人们常会以西方国家是始作俑者为借口。这种控告是没意义的,谁先造成的并不重要;因为每一个人都该对自己和自己的习性对环境造成的破坏负上同等的责任。当然,美国对石油的需求已经失控了,但中国也是呀。当然,1900年英格兰高速工业化的时期就已造成了严重的空气污染;可是,这不代表说我们就可以对现今的污染视若无睹。对此,贾德•戴蒙的看法非常清晰:大多西方国家的大量耗损行径和消耗文化并不是我们应该效法的。每一个人都该进行心灵探索,不只是第一世界。一味责怪别人破坏性的角色对我们并没有好处。反之,为什么不集中精力想一下甚么是“我们”可以做的呢?-Jiayi

A question of 'duty'

This is a situation that often occurs when discussing the environment or consumption in developing countries.

When faced with the reality of increased pollution, people will often use the excuse that the Western countries did it first.

That accusation is meaningless because it doesn't matter who did it first: everyone is equally responsible for the destruction they, and their habits, wreck on the environment.

Of course the United State's dependence on oil is reckless, but so is China's. Of course there has been terrible air pollution in England during the nineteen hundreds from its own period of rapid industrialization. But that doesn't mean we can turn a blind eye to the pollution that is going on today.

Jared Diamond is very clear in what he says: the wasteful ways of mass consumption and culture of consuming prevalent in most of the Western world is not something we should aspire to.

Everyone needs to do soul searching - not only the first world. Blaming others for their role in the degradation leads us no where. Instead, why not focus our energy on what WE can do.

-Jiayi.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

胡说八道

面对事实吧,欧洲和北美出版的这些"批评"大多是基於以薄纱遮掩住的惧外心理或是民族优越感。世界上很多的白人国家(如八个工业强国)都见不得黄种人和棕种人正在经济和军事方面赶上和超越他们,这已经不是甚麽秘密了。因此,像中国这样正在工业化中的国家,拥有的金钱和军队都在急速地超越已发展国家,环境问题自然容易成为被已发展国家攻击的目标了。
回顾美国和其联盟一直在环保方面的记录,以及把大部分的燃油、木材、金属和其他原料的开采转移到海外的发展中国家(如中国)的行径,他们必定是最後一群有资格对中国作出批评的人。中国的环境受到破坏是因为它生产运往美国和欧洲的制成品。西方国家作为其中的直接受益者,却批评中国的工业引致环境变坏,这实在是讽刺,甚至是伪善的表现。
其实,他们不能接受的是中国同时从这过程中逐步致富,而他们却束手无策。无可否认,中国和其他世界上的国家一样都面临环境受破坏的重大後果(而且已经在很多方面显露了),认真的自续性生产方法的研究和意图是必须受到注视和加以实行的。但当西方国家只是"略尽绵力"地去改变他们的生活方式时,他们很多有关环境的言论就都只是一派胡言,不能令人信服。
在某些方面来说,几星期前中国政府公务员那种对能源保护的努力不在乎和推搪的态度,恰恰和西方国家在环保行动上的那种自我赋权和自我矛盾的表现同出一彻。如果西方继续向像沃尔玛那样的零售商要求供给廉价的制成品,而不过问这些产品背後负上的环境成本的话,中国也将会一直"牺牲"环境,疯狂地以自己的方式致富。唯一的解决方法是自续发展,以及所有国家共同努力实行这方法。

some rants

face it, most of these "critiques" from european and north american publications are based on thinly veiled xenophobia and ethnocentricism at best. it's no secret that most of the white nations of the world (G8) can't stand to see the brown and yellow people progressing above them in terms of economics and military strength. so the environment becomes an easy target when industrializing nations like china is rapidly surpassing those developed nations in terms of having money and large standing armies. given the current track record of the united states and its allies in the environment, they ought to be the last ones to criticize when most of the oil, timber, metal and other raw materials are outsourced overseas to developing nations like china and china's environment is destroyed because china is manufacturing finished products for american and european consumption. it's ironic and even hypocritical that western nations are criticizing china's environmental degradation from it's industries when those western nations are the direct beneficiaries of china's manufacturing and environmental degradation. what they can't stand is that china's also getting rich thru the process and they can't do anything about it.

while there's no denying that china and the rest of the world face grave environmental consequences (and already have in many ways), and that serious studies and attempts at self-sustaining methods of economic production must be looked at and implemented, there's little credibility to many of the environmental rants that western nations impose upon china when they themselves have made little attempts at changing their lifestyles.

in many ways, it's like those chinese government workers that didn't follow thru on the energy conservation effort a few weeks ago: their "let somebody else do it" indifference and execuse reflects perfectly the western nations' sense of self-entitlement and self-contradictions of environmental action. so as long the west demands cheap manufactured goods from retailers like wal-mart without any regards to the environmental costs associated with the manufacturing of those goods, china will "sacrifice" its environment in the mad rush to get rich on its own terms. the only solution is self-sustainable development and all nations should look into cooperative efforts that would make them do so.

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匿名 | Anonymous

科技的重要性

这里是对评论"胡言乱语"的一些备注。中国应该做的是留意并采用那些利用替代燃料的新科技。比如说,那些在北京公路上试行的燃料电池公交车就是一次方向正确的好尝试。还有生物柴油、甲烷、风能、太阳能和其他方式的可再生燃料来源的开发,对解决中国能源的需求都是很重要的。
我个人对水力发电有所存疑,因为考虑到环境变化和建坝堵住大量水来发电之间的关连;不过,并不代表说不应该认真考虑采用那些低成本又零污染的电力来源。中国新制造的车辆和能源供应厂可以不采用传统的化石燃油,从而在改进科技和发展自续能源方面超越并引领全世界。
由於中国不像美国和欧洲政府那样受到石油工业垄断商的影响--扼杀了革新和生态保护的进程(同时也引发了战争,伊拉克便是一例);中国可以在它目前的工业生产轨道和环境保护方面领导世界。
西方媒体的这个中国报道是值得赞扬的,因为它当中承认了中国正尝试采用一些新科技,而且某程度上比西方国家自己的步伐走得更快。

the importance of technology

just a follow up to the "some rants" post here.

what china should do is look at and implement new technologies that are being developed that use alternative sources of fuel. for instance, those new buses that run on fuel cells which are being tested out on beijing's street are a nice move in the right direction. as well as bio-disel, methane, wind and solar and other forms of renewable fuel sources are cruicial to meeting china's energy demands. i'm skeptical on hydro-electricity because of the environmental changes associated with damming up large bodies of water; however, it doesn't mean cheap sources of electricity that are non-polluting shouldn't be given serious consideration.

by skipping traditional fossil fuels for new cars and power generating plants for industry, china can lead the world in terms of advancing technology and development of self-sustaining energy sources. without the oil industry monopolies' influence on the american and european governments that stifles innovation and ecological protection (as well as wars like iraq), china can lead the world both in terms of it's current trajectory of industrial production and as well as environmental protection.

and western medias that "report" on china can give credit where it's due that china is attempting to utilize these new technologies in some ways that far outpaces what their own countries have been trying to implement.

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匿名 | Anonymous

中国的机遇

发达国家的确在道义上有责任来减少他们对全球的影响。但同时,发展中国家比如中国需要保证他们不再重蹈发达国家放过的严重错误。比如说,(发展中国家可以使用)现在的能生产清洁能源和环保交通工具的技术。(事实上,这样的技术已经存在一些时候了)。

现在缺少的是变革的政治意愿。各国的政府和大众,不论国家大与小,贫与富,需要认识到全球变暖的危机所在,以及它对我们星球造成的危害将是我们急需解决的问题。同时,他们还需要找出新的方法来提高我们宝贵资源的利用率。

全球各地二氧化碳的减排对我们的地球都是有好处的。历史上,中国经历了无数次的大发展和变革。现在,中国又有机遇来实现大跨步的发展,特别是在能源方面。

许多专家指出,与美国不同的是,中国没有过度地投资在石油方面,从而容易转移到其他新燃料方面的发展。(在中国),不论在城市和乡村,对太阳能和其它清洁和可再生能源的投资将对缓解空气,水和土地质量下降起到很大的作用和效果。这样的进步将有助于人类健康,将会是一个双赢的结果。

没有人说中国和其它(发展中)国家不应该发展。他们与所谓的第一世界国家一样拥有权利而且需要这样去做。但他们拥有的是一次可以做的更好的机遇。玛莉安•贝德

China's opportunity

Developed countries certainly have a responsibility and a duty, in moral terms, to reduce their global footprint. At the same time, developing nations such as China need to ensure that, in growing as they will, they do not repeat the worst mistakes of the developed nations. For example, the technology exists today to produce clean energy and clean-running vehicles. (In fact, it has existed for quite a while.) What’s lacking is the political will to change things. The governments and populations of all countries -- large or small, developed or developing -- need to mandate action for truly sustainable living. They need to address global warming and its ramifications as a planetary emergency and devise ways to manage our precious resources efficiently. Carbon dioxide reduction anywhere in the world is good for the earth. Numerous times throughout China’s history, the country has moved in daring leaps. China has an opportunity now to leap ahead again, especially in the energy sector. Unlike the US, many experts say, China is not overly invested in oil and can more easily move into new fuels. In both urban and rural areas, investment in solar power and other clean, renewable sources can make a significant difference in reducing the degradation of air, water and land. Such progress would be a boon to human health, and a win-win situation all around. No one can seriously argue that China and other nations should not develop. They have the same right (and need) to do so as the so-called first world countries. But what they also have is an opportunity to do it better. – Maryann Bird

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匿名 | Anonymous

满足中国的需求

在中国向“第一世界”生活方式努力发展的一幕幕消费增长景象下,其需求是可以用很多方式来衡量的。根据《中国日报》的消息,随着照明、空调、个人电脑及其它办公用品的大量使用,“据报道,中国近七百万的公务员要使用全国年发电量的将近5%,而这些电量足够满足七亿八千万农民的用电需求。”

Meeting China's demands

[China’s demands can be measured in many ways, in snapshots of its growing consumption as it strives toward a “first-world” lifestyle. With lighting, air conditioning, computers and other office equipment, “China’s nearly seven million public servants reportedly use almost 5% of the country’s annual electricity, which is enough to meet the demands of 780 million farmers,” the newspaper China Daily reports.]

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匿名 | Anonymous

关于贝德女士

和大多数的西方作家一样,贝德女士对她毫不了解的人民的社会发展趋势给出了非常表面化的分析和预测。中国人和所有人一样,的确都向往现代技术带来的更好的生活资源。而她和所有西方人都忽视掉的是,一个普通的中国人是非常节俭的。我想说的是,虽然我们看上去正像第一世界那样消费,或者渴望如此,但是我们的习惯和我们为得到和保持那种状态而消费的资源相对一个西方人而言或许只是很小一部分。我,和我所处地加拿大的很多我的中国朋友们都已经拥有的优越的生活条件,例如宽敞的房子、小车、家用电器和很多其它东西。但我们永远无法摆脱的却是我们骨子里“不浪费”任何东西的习惯。于是我们算着每一分钱的价值,我们只在打折的时候才买东西,把花费降到不能再低。我们从不为买一纸板箱的牛奶而开车去街角的小店。我们走路,更多时候是计划好要买的那些东西然后一次解决。我们吃鸡的时候任何部分都吃,除了鸡毛和咯咯的鸡叫。食物是从来不会被浪费掉的。我们不把钱挥霍在垃圾食品上,也不去那些妄自尊大的好饭馆。不需要开灯的时候灯就会被关掉。厕所冲水也是最少的(别细问)。当我们开车的时候我们的脑子总在想多少油将会被耗费掉。我们细心照顾我们的车,好让它们用到10年以上。我们很少把东西扔掉,并且能回收的就回收。由于这一点,一个普通的中国家庭会拥有很多并不用得着的东西,因为好多东西都是在打折的时候买回来的。还有,因为我们从不扔东西,那些东西里可以找到不同的跨越数十年的建筑风格。试着汇集出匹配的装修风格。我也许可以就中国人的节俭写一本书了。是的,中国将用掉这个世界越来越多的资源。但是,中国平均每人的消费量将远远低于每个西方人的消费量。你自己也可以在你的中国朋友或邻居那里观察到这点。更进一步的说,中国大陆居民居住的房子可能只有我住的大小的四分之一,进行值得引起注意的消费或是浪费的机会是相当有限的。我们有这么多人,消费和耗费量的总和肯定要大于发达国家。但是中国家庭已经尽所能在实施节省能源和材料的措施了。陈旧而效率低下的工业进行的被许可的污染是一个大问题。而有幸的是,政府已经认识到了这个问题并积极的纠正这一点。伴随着的是中国的现代化更上一层楼。开尔文·默克

About Ms. Bird

Ms. Bird, like most western writers, is very superficial with her analysis and prognosis of the societal trends of a people whom she barely knows about. The Chinese, as with all peoples, do want the better things of life made possible by modern technology. What she and all westerners overlook is that the ordinary Chinese is a very frugal person. The point I wish to make is that while we may appear to possess first world goodies, or want to, our habits and our consumption of resources to obtain and to maintain that status is probably a fraction of that consumed by a westerner.

I, and many of my Chinese friends in Canada where I am, already have all the good things in life such as a large house, a car, the household appliances and much else. What we can’t get out of our system is the habit of “not wasting” anything. Thus we count the value of every cent, buying only when there is a sale and cutting expenses to the bone. We don’t drive our car to the corner store to pick up a carton of milk. We walk or more likely plan our purchases so that we buy our groceries at one go. We eat every part of the chicken except the feathers and the cluck. Food is never wasted. We don’t waste money on junk food or snotty fine dining either. Lights not needed are switched off. Toilet flushing is minimal (don’t ask)

When we drive always at the back of our minds is how much gas we will use up. We take care of our cars so that they last more than 10 years. We seldom throw anything away and will recycle where possible. On account of this an average Chinese home will have a lot of mismatched stuff because much of them is bought at bargain prices. Plus since we never throw away any stuff the items span the architectural styles spanning several decades. Try assembling a matching décor. I could probably write a book on Chinese frugality.

Yes China will use up more and more of the world’s resources. But the resources consumed by per Chinese person will be a lot lower than per western person. You can observe this for yourself anytime among your Chinese friends and neighbors. Furthermore the mainland Chinese lives in a home probably one quarter the size of my Canadian one. There is very limited opportunity for conspicuous consumption or for waste. There being so many of us of course the gross totals in consumption and waste produced will eventually be higher than the developed countries. But all the possible energy saving and material saving measures are already in practice in Chinese homes. Granted pollution from inefficient and dated industries is a big problem. Fortunately the Government is aware of this and is actively correcting this is as China moves up the modernization ladder.

Kelvin Mok

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匿名 | Anonymous

中国人的节俭

开尔文,坦白说你的评论有些自鸣得意,并且短视。你在加拿大。我在北京看到的是年轻富足的中国青年如何迷醉于下一款手机的遴选。他们正在用的手机毫无问题,仅仅不是最新款,他们就想换新的。这一点和西方比起来有什么差别?中国人住的房子比较小,一般而言,没错,比他们在中国住的要小。但根据中国政府的统计数据,中国的能源利用率远远低于西方,或者印度。今天的中国文化是消费主义...人们被各色各样的广告轰击,告诉他们买了某某东西就会如何快乐...中国正在朝着一个危险的方向行进。你可以说中国人有权过享乐的奢侈的生活,但前提是我们有另一个星球可供生存。另一个星球在哪儿,开尔文?如果你没有,醒醒吧,不要再自以为是了,不要再等政府出面了——你们的政府在环境方面的表现在世界上是排倒数的。是时候了,中国人应该接受这样一个事实,每个人都该负责,都该行动。

chinese frugality

Kelvin, your comments frankly are smug and short sighted. You are in Canada. I am in Beijing where I see young, wealthy Chinese obsessed with which model of mobile phone they want to have next. They have a perfectly good working phone but it isn't the latest model, so they want a new one. How is this different from the west? Chinese people live in smaller houses, on average, yes, than they do in China. But according to Chinese government sstatistics, energy consumption in China is much less efficient than in the west or in India. Chinese culture today is consumerist.. people are bombarded with adverts that tell them they will be happy if only they buy certain things.. China is going down a dangerous path. You cn say Chinese people are entitled to live profligate and extravagant lives but it only works if you have a spare planet to live on. Where's your spare planet. Kelvin? If you don't have one, wake up, stop being smug, stop leaving it to the government -- your government's record on the environment is one of the worst in the world. It's time the Chinese people accepted they are all responsible and they should all act.

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匿名 | Anonymous

中国百姓节俭,特权和新富浪费

开而文毕竟长居国外,只部分说对国人的节俭(但买便宜货并不等于环保)。国内以权谋钱的既得利益者、新富和年轻人的奢侈浪费比西方人有时还甚--因为他们的钱来得容易。

另外,同样是发达国家,日本人也住得很拥挤,比现如今中国大城市居民都挤:四口之家的公寓普遍只有70平米左右(而如今在中国,白领和公务员家庭一般都住100平米上下),远没有你们加拿大住的宽敞,原因很简单:富如日本也受资源和土地承受力的限制,更甭提中国这样资源有限、人口巨大、空间拥挤的穷国了。

Frugality

Kelvin is only partly right about Chinese frugality (although buying cheap doesn’t necessarily mean environmentally friendly.). In nowadays China, vested interest new rich, officials enriched by corruption and the urban youth sometimes consume more extravagantly than their western counterparts—because money comes easy for them. On the other hand, although Japan is also a developed country, the living condition of average Japanese is also crowded, if not more crowded than many of us in China. In Japan, a family of four typically lives in a flat of about 70 square meters (while in China now it is often more than 100M2 for the family of civil servants and white collars etc.), much smaller than you guys in Canada. The reason is simple: rich as Japan, it is still constrained by the affordability of its land and resources, let alone China, a poor country with limited resources, huge population and crowded space too.