'The New Rich in China: Why there is no new middle class'

Professor David S G Goodman

Professor of Chinese Politics, and Director, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Sydney

11.Feb.2009 15.00 - 16.30
Board Room, Arts Tower - Sheffield


Economic reform in the People's Republic of China [PRC] since 1980 has seen the emergence of new categories of wealth and power. Collectively and colloquially these new categories have been referred to as the ‘new rich'. They have also been referred to both inside and outside of the PRC as the new middle class (or middle classes) if for different reasons. While there are good reasons for accepting this designation, the evidence from surveys of new rich entrepreneurs conducted since the early 1990s in different parts of the PRC (Zhejiang, Shanxi, Qinghai, Sichuan, and Hainan) suggest caution. In terms of hierarchies of wealth, status and power the new rich represent not just a significant component of the current ruling class, but perhaps more significantly highlight the dimensions for the long-term future.