Comments: 'When we were Chinese, we were behind Americans ... I guess I can't win'
A new survey projects Singapore will be home to the wealthiest citizens in 2050.
August 17th, 2012
03:35 PM ET

Comments: 'When we were Chinese, we were behind Americans ... I guess I can't win'

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

They say money makes the world go 'round, but what happens when money goes around the world? Readers weighed in on a report about Knight Frank and Citi Private Wealth's 2012 Wealth Report. The "rich list" postulates that Asia will host four out of five of the world's wealthiest economies by 2050. Comments indicate that residents of the fifth-ranked country, the United States, are probably not alone in pondering their place in the world.

World's rich list shows emerging Asian century

We heard from a lot of readers who said they were skeptical about making assumptions about the future. The following commenter says the grass is always greener somewhere else.

CWhatsNew: "OK. My husband and I both studied English very hard, got Ph.Ds, struggled out of China 25 years ago, (pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps), and made successful careers and our American Dream. Before we wake up from the sweetness of (taking pride in) ourselves, our kids need to turn the dream around to study Chinese and go establish a Chinese Dream? Ahyaya! So when we were Chinese, we were behind Americans. When we are Americans, we are behind the Chinese. I guess I can't win."

chromebus: "Your sentiments ... are exactly the same as many American Koreans. South Koreans have a negative term for American Koreans who came to the U.S. after the Korean War for a better life because unbeknownst to anyone, South Korea became a powerhouse and land prices rose like crazy, thereby creating incredible equity for many. It's the American Koreans who, er ... came out poorer. But! Life is also about purpose, eh? Don't feel bad!"

Aki Charles Saito: "Don't worry, most of us will be no longer alive by that time when most of West is in bottom and most of East is up."

The original poster returned to respond to the chain.

CWhatsNew: "Thanks everyone. No worries. Given the same opportunity to come to America 25 years ago, and even knowing at that time China would have become what it is now, we'd still have made the same choice of coming here, striving for our life in our own way. By no means would I spend the best 10 years of my life waiting for government housing (or) to get married, or waiting (until) the weekends to get a shower. Now China is so far developed. They enjoy the fruition of their own effort that I haven't been a part of. I'm happy for them. When you really read into the article, the U.S. would still be on top. With the added benefits that this piece of land has to offer, i.e., fresh air, respect at work, feeling safe to bike or hike any trail in the country, and this (freedom to post) without any concern ... I guess I'm totally good staying put. We are even buying a family plot for my parents and us in the future. This article hasn't reported the tremendous increase of wealthy people immigrating into the U.S. There must be something good here ? 🙂 chromebus is right that it's the purpose and pursuit of your life and not the absolute average dollar amount that really matters, unless the situation is too bad, i.e., no house and no shower."

Readers talked about how different countries value education.

chromebus: "I think lots of Americans are taking this CNN story the wrong way (as usual). Let's just congratulate these Asian countries for doing well, find out what they are doing better in, such as education or training or business incentives and then emulate those aspects. There's no need to substantiate any annoyance with cheap potshots of 'you depend on us for' this and that. ... Look at things factually, and that's it. Rogers is a genius, we are not. He learns. We learn, too. Nothing to gripe about."

Dionysus86: "The overwhelming difference between us and Asia is the way we view education. We view it as an expense, a necessary evil that we'll fund just enough to be passable, wherein Asia it is viewed as the most significant investment society can make. Until we view education as an investment and stop trying to cut the wages of teachers and force them out of their unions, good luck keeping up."

jawsua: "We view education much more differently than that. In much of Asia, education equals memorization, while in the West, education equals creation. The Asian system of education puts a cap on one's abilities."

Some discussion focused on the idea of a "benevolent superpower."

runabout: "The question is whether these countries will be as benevolent as the U.S. has been while on top. And before people start flaming, yes, we haven't always been judicious in our application of military force ... but economically, we have been very generous while on the top. Much more generous per capita than a lot of cultures who criticize us. Sadly, the last 30-40 years as a people, we have been losing the will to be great collectively. And now we focus more on ourselves and our whiny infighting and allow the extreme right and left sides (to) dominate politics ... and we play it safe as a culture. And playing it safe almost always gives a zero or negative rate of return on cultural investment."

chromebus: "That's a great point. The U.S. has been generous, although pushy with its brand of democracy. One brand of democracy does not suit all developing nations, eh? Niall Ferguson of Harvard brought up an interesting point. All of these mentioned powerhouses (minus Hong Kong) were one-party states for their formative run-up years. Yup. Even South Korea, which was a military dictatorship until the 1980s. However, the real question is whether China will be a benevolent superpower. I can tell you one thing. Asian economies listed here are comfy being China-centric (the technical term is 'sinification') as long as China is fair with them. Look at the list. Taiwan (all Chinese). Singapore (80% Chinese minus the expats). Hong Kong (obvious). South Korea ... You get my point ..."

Another reader said Asia may be in for a rude awakening.

Octavian81: "Not likely. The key to understanding Asia's future is understanding what happens once China's economy begins to stall and retract as A.) (Its) population continues to gray and (it doesn't) have enough young workers to maintain (its) welfare state, B.) Civil unrest continues to spread (most of China's prosperity is based on (its) coastline and the inner part of the country is still very much Third World), C.) They cope with the destruction of their fresh water supplies, and D.) ... Asia is in for a very bumpy ride in the first half of the 21st century. Furthermore, and as other posters pointed out, the caste systems and inequality in Asian countries are absolutely crippling and shocking - and will also absolutely benefit both America and Europe in the long run. Born as an untouchable in India? Are you a smart Chinese national who knows they'll never get anywhere in life because your family doesn't have the right political connection? A word to the wise for the Asian economies: If smart, innovative and talented people know that they're getting a raw deal, they'll always vote with their feet."

But then again, maybe Americans' views are tainted - or tinted.

Childen: "Not surprised at all. Take off your red, white and blue-tinted glasses and it's easy to see that the USA is maybe not necessarily declining, but definitely not improving at the pace of other countries. We're falling behind in education, infrastructure and technology, and this will only continue with our current state of politics."

Should people in the United States compare themselves with other countries? Your answer may depend on your age and experience.

YourEpiphany: "I don't know how old some posters here are, but I've (been) crawling around this Earth now almost half a century. Ever since I was a kid I have heard how the USA wasn't as good as it used to be, our education sucked. I can't count how many time I have heard we're ignorant, arrogant, and act like the police of the world. Always we have heard China ... and other emerging economies were going to overtake us. Then there are Armageddon religious nuts who expect us to fall any day now and Jesus will appear on the Temple Mount and usher in the new system. My message to all these clowns is quit worrying about what the world is doing ... and just go out (and) do the best you can do (and) try and contribute something useful to the place we all live, Earth."

What do you think about the future of the global economy? Yes, that's a big question. Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: China • Comments • Singapore • U.S. • Wisconsin • World
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Bilbo baggins

    Too many Chinese here under fake names.

    August 23, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
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