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. saywhat

    Undoubtedly the dynamics are a changing on the geo political level and economic front. Its not hard to visualize a world where the US no longer holds sway, thanks to our self destructive policies. And looking at the caliber of the emerging leadership.
    militarily we might be able continue pushing and shoving for a period then developing alliances at some point would make even that difficult.

    August 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I agree in large part to your post.
      That being said, the "good old days" were not necessarily so good; the same backbiting intrigue in politics have pretty much always existed.
      What has changed so much is that the population has grown exponentially; that and the instantaneously-in-your-face way we receive our information...
      I can assure people here that the good old days were just the ssdd revisited, only bigger and better.

      August 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    I like those giant Martini glasses.

    August 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hope


    How proud they must be...

    Carnival Time!

    Too bad they don't BUILD more
    character in their people.

    They won't be around in 2050, imo.

    August 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hope

    Sorry, that sounded so negative...

    A toast to 2050... come what may!


    August 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Portland tony

    China has 1.3B people, plenty of undeveloped land, a relatively stable government that can plan developement 10 years at a time and a lot of cash. We on the other hand have a stable government that can't plan a year at a time. The future lies with China unless we, the US, can get our ducks in a row!

    August 17, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. UNCLECOLINpowell

    Noitce that UNCLE POWELL is certainly quiet these days? He never ran for President... he claimed it was too
    dangerous....... just like Heman Cain..... a true danger of "disclosure" of the man who brought you "Vietnam"....
    High Profits and big career advancements for ALL.... true equality is the UNCLE of inventions.

    August 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bobcat (in a hat)©


    August 17, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bobcat (in a hat)©

    It's letting me post here but not on the Fridays Live Events. What's up with that ?

    August 17, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bobcat (in a hat)©

    dazzle and chrissy

    If you come by here and see this, please join me. For some reason they're not letting me through on the other site.

    August 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. janey33

    Then move to China.

    August 18, 2012 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      The problem with your statement is that too many manufacturing management folks have taken your offer seriously. They have moved the labor intensive manufacturing portion of their business to China, And as more Chinese enter the global workforce, they have money to buy why build consumer products here when your customer is halfway around the world?

      August 18, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • ziggy

      easy 2 stop china economy/political system.west should stop trading w/ china.economy &gov. would cllapse within year.people in china have gotten used 2 having income material wealth.cut it off they will rise up.

      August 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. usa peace

    If us enconamy goes down so does china we the usa is china largest consumer so when we stop buying they lose money and china pullation is getting bigger by the day there gonna be the day when they cant feed themselves and south korea please north korea is getting ready to invade

    August 18, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. @blogs-o-matic

    Show up more often before Chinese becomes our national language.

    August 18, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • JACK

      Mandarin will not be our nat'l language, but SPANISH is already an official language of the USA. We Asian-Americans like to keep English as our nat'l language. Most Asians in the USA speak other languages beside Chinese or Madarin. However, most White, and Black never know the different.

      August 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kenney

    @bobcat iah,,,just hang in there you will get back in where you want to

    August 18, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. bobcat (in a hat)©

    There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins were not invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

    And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce, and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So, one moose, 2 meese? One index, two indices? Is cheese the plural of choose?

    August 18, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

      In what language do people recite at a play, and play at a recital?

      Ship by truck, and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

      August 18, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out, and an alarm clock goes off by going on.

      When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.

      August 18, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      And your point is ? Lighten up dude. It's the weekend, think good thoughts for a change. No need to be bitter ALL the time.

      August 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      i like this essay...simply escher...

      August 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      @ Rascal Rabble

      I never thought of it like that. The only thing missing are the art renderings.

      August 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat (in a hat)©

    On their first night to be together, the newlywed couple go to get changed. The new bride comes out of the bathroom, all showered and wearing her beautiful robe. The proud husband says, "My dear, we are married now, you can open your robe."

    The beautiful young woman opens her robe, and he is astonished. "Oh, oh, aaaahhh," he exclaims, "My Lord, you are so beautiful, let me take your picture".

    Puzzled, she asks, "My picture?"

    He answers, "Yes my dear, so I can carry your beauty next to my heart forever."

    She smiles and he takes her picture, and then he heads into the bathroom to shower.
    He comes out wearing his robe and the new wife asks, "Why do you wear a robe? We are married now."

    He then opens his robe and she exclaims, "Oh, oh, oh my, let me get a picture."

    He beams and asks, "Why?"

    She answers, "So I can get It enlarged."

    August 18, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
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