My shift from proletarian to property owner

By Su Li
0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, December 10, 2010
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In Beijing, there is a common topic at every dinner table: houses. Ostensibly everyone sighs about the soaring house prices, and the relatively stagnant wage levels.

But if you watch attentively, you will see a clear-cut watershed. Those propertied guys are the discourse power holders, while those who haven't yet bought a house are, invariantly, the indifferent and silent listeners.

It is especially interesting when people at the dinner table are a group of 20-somethings who were once college classmates and now have just started their careers.

Previously everyone was equal, because we all belonged to the "have-nots" camp. But suddenly, some own a house bought with family savings, whereas others see this as an impossible dream.

After three decades of reform and opening-up, the gap between the rich and the poor is clearly demonstrated in the house purchasing issue facing this generation. Your economic capacity, family background and even social networks are clear at a glance.

"Why on earth do people talk about houses during reunions?" An old classmate of mine asked me indignantly over phone. He had just been at a reunion, and felt upset with the distance brought by that "sensitive" topic.

I myself have been in similar occasions for more than a few times. It is like two camps sitting on the same table, engaging in a subtle psychological war.

The propertied camp keeps repeating that house prices won't fall for all kinds of reasons. The subtext is: We've made the wise decision, join us, and the longer you wait, the bigger a loser you'll become.

Surely, such rhetoric won't win too much echoes from the proletarian camp, who often wear a puzzling look.

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