In China, those that work harder and do a better job, regardless of self-esteem or happiness, tend to prosper. in fact, Asian-Americans have the lowest self esteem in the United States.
Gallup studied China’s work ethics. Not surprisingly, the credo “work hard and get rich” is by far the most popular choice, selected by 53% of respondents. About one in four Chinese (26%) opt for “don’t think about money or fame, just lead a life that suits your own tastes,” while less than a tenth of Chinese identify with all the other responses. Perhaps most telling: Only 2% of Chinese choose the collectivist exhortation to “never think of yourself, give everything in service to society.”
In short, it would appear that the country’s commitment to material self-betterment through hard work is firmly rooted and unchallenged.
However, in the United States, a Yahoo.com, ABC News piece said, “Between 1979 – 2007, the income of the top 1% of Americans increased by 275%. For the other 99% of Americans, income only increased 29%.”
The problem is that when prices of everyday items such as food goes up due to inflation, many people cannot afford to buy them. In addition, equity in homes, where most of middle class wealth is, lost value.
Studies also show that countries that have a large income gap such as the US, also have high numbers of unemployed, incarceration, teen pregnancy, poor health and lower life expectancy.
In fact, prison inmates by race breaks down to: White 58.6%, African American 37.9%, Latino/Hispanic 34.3%, and Asian 1.7%. That’s right. For Asians it was one “point” seven percent and Asian-Americans graduate from high school and college in the highest ratios.
Chinese Education: Social Life and Work Ethic
In addition, the King’s College of London’s World Prison Population List reports, “The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world,” while China doesn’t even make the top sixteen list.
The US has about 2.3 million people behind bars at 756 per 100,000 people, and China has 1.56 million at 119 per 100,000.
It may not surprise you that Chinese-Americans, which includes all Asian-Americans, have the lowest teen pregnancy rate too.
U.S. Birth Rates for women aged 15-19 in 2009 by Race/Ethnicity was 70 per 1,000 for Hispanic; 59 per 1,000 for Black/African-American; 24 per 1,000 for White non-Hispanic, and 14 per 1,000 for Asian-American/Pacific Islander. Source: cdc.gov
Since the lack of an education often lands Americans in prison, low paying jobs or unemployed, one would think that working hard to earn an education would be popular in the US, but it isn’t.
Instead, in the US, it is the old blame game. “It’s the teacher’s fault that I earned a failing grade or the class was boring.” It doesn’t matter if the child does homework, studies for tests or reads, it’s still the teacher’s fault.
The Wall Street Journal in From College Major to Career says, “Choosing the right college major can make a big difference in students’ career prospects, in terms of employment and pay… Some popular majors, such as nursing and finance, do particularly well, with unemployment under 5% and high salaries during the course of their careers.”
In addition, the attitude of America’s Baby Boomers is not much better than the children they raised that are now having trouble finding jobs because they did not take earning an education seriously as most Asian-Americans do.
The next question should be, “How long will the United States hold onto global super-power status with attitudes such as these?”
Return to America’s Lost Work Ethic and the Future Fate of the United States – Part 4 or start with Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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