China’s “Comfort Class” | The Bling Dynasty, National Geographic Magazine: Street Scene, East Nanjing Road | Shanghai, China

Forty five percent of urban Chinese are at health risk due to stress. They call it “inner heat” and most Chuppies can cite the physical symptoms. The Chinese have accomplished in 10 years what the U.S. did in 50. These photographs are of China’s coming of age. Our history, fast forward times five, applied to China’s infrastructure, housing, factories, service industries, and STRESS, is what the newly wealthy “comfort class” in China is dealing with. Companies like Avon or Wrigley define this comfort class as those earning between $400 and $4,000 a month and those are the folks they want to sell stuff to. Money seems to go three times as far in China. Most of these photographs are of people making between $5,000 and $20,000 a year. As De Tocqueville observed, “steadily increasing prosperity does not tranquilize citizens; on the contrary, it promotes a spirit of unrest.”

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