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Chinese fiscal culture favors savings over excessive spending

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

12-16-2015 18:15 BJT

By Christina Kitova, associate partner Hodges Media Communications, based in Oklahoma City, USA.

China and its culture has a fascinating history and is appealing to many Western observers. There's one tale in particular about Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynast and his beloved son Prince Suzong, which defines the true Chinese character.


During his reign (712-756 A.D.), the emperor spent a great amount of time with his son, giving much emphasis on the lessons to avoid acting wasteful with food and to appreciate one’s possessions.

The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius had expounded upon and praised the family unit as a central focal point for society. The philosophical teachings of Meng Zi and Xun Zi had provided further support for Confucianism as well.

The philosophy endorses an orientation towards family values and moral behavior. Accordingly, this has set the dominant standard of Chinese culture for many centuries.

An example regards teaching to children about the important value of saving money and showing appreciation, which serves to demonstrate throughout its great history that China has usually taken a responsible role to handling money and acting in harmony with community relations.

The Chinese culture has passed down from generation after generation the numerous lessons that favor individual responsibility and frugality. Acting in a financially conscious manner gives the Chinese people an opportunity to save, which offers them more fiscal security for their future.

Recent Chinese economic reforms have improved stability within their households, allowing families to purchase and acquire more goods and services that have given rise to an emerging middle class.

Despite China's emerging ability to afford far more consumption, Chinese cultural values and its government promote the principles of financial modesty to encourage its people to save for the long run.

Even with the younger generations attempting to mimic American culture in certain trends, as well as with purchasing some expensive leisure goods, the culture itself remains focused on fiscal responsibilities that are taught within their homes.

The importance of such values allows for a better quality of living over the long term.

Unfortunately, due to the easy access and exploitation of credit lending, the promotion of consumerism has placed many young people in dire financial straits as they had carelessly accumulated large debts. The lifestyle of living beyond an individual's means has created a difficult and vicious cycle for them.

The harsh lessons are presently being taught to the West, as its culture places far less emphasis on financial frugality. However, Chinese families tend to save half their incomes which allow them to prepare for retirement and to attain financial security.

With the Chinese currency yuan gaining greater prominence and with its recent and successful application to become one of International Monetary Fund's (IMF) reserve currencies, the value of Chinese savings may likely experience an inevitable future devaluation.

China has been built on a strong agrarian society, helping to alleviate against the rising costs of sustainable imports, a major key to inflationary triggers. China's emerging middle class has given rise to private home ownership, offering its citizens tangible asset value.

As its younger generations earn more money and can afford to purchase more luxury items, the value system of saving would help them to remain cost-conscious consumers. who are less likely to fall victim to bankruptcies and poverty. The USA and other Western countries should take heed to their example on the practice of frugality.

While history has continued to evolve and be chronicled, its lessons should be learned and taken to heart. China is blazing a historical trail for itself and we should invest our attention to learn from their successes and failures.

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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