If China has been around for 5000 years, how come 80% of the people are peasants (rice farmers) living in villages? What have these people been doing the last 5000 years?
Gary Westergren, Chinese/Japanese Proverb/Calligraphy Research Specialist
Officially, almost 15% of Americans live in poverty.
A little over 50% are defined as lower class.
Only 21% of Americans meet the definition of upper class.
It turns out, the percentages in China and USA are not all that different.
However, I would rather be poor in China than the USA. I’ve spent a lot of time with peasants in small villages around China. They have a better life than the poor in America.
In China, the government (including in imperial times) implemented policy that keeps class mobility at a minimum.
That also is not so different from the USA where corporations and government implement policy to keep the lower class from moving up. Proof is as easy as looking at the millions spent on lobbying against minimum wage increases in the USA.
It sounds like you are embracing a fallacy that people do not move up in the classes because they are lazy. I have never met a lazy farmer - have you? And, just to support a 2-person household on minimum wage in the USA, one must have 3 full time jobs. A typical lower class Chinese person works 6+ days per week and at least 12 hours per day (even the ones who make your iPhone). None of this sounds lazy to me. So when you say, “what have they been doing the last 5000 years?” I would say working like slaves.
Also, most farmers do not grow rice in China. There are rice paddies in the south, but traditionally there was very little if any rice eaten in the northern portion of China. They grow everything from cabbage to carrots. And don’t forget ranchers who raise pigs, sheep, cows, and chickens for slaughter to feed a nation of 1,379,000,000 people.
Hans Combrink, former CEO at NH29
Very good question and same can be asked about India
Alexander Hartdegen Lee
China was historically an agricultural country.
In fact, they valued farmers more than merchants.
So it is not a surprise that they are farmers. After all, it is sufficient enough for them to earn a living.
What’s wrong with that?
Chinese people have exceptional love to their soil.
This is the most crucial characteristic of China..
Chinese farmers have only done a few things for thousands of years.
Make money, marry a wife, have children
Send the child to the private school
Let the children go to the national exam
Be a bureaucrat
Gigi Aldo, Banker
That's because agrarian society can remain that way for thousands of years.
First correct， Chinese do not all eat rice. The origin of the Chinese nation - there is no rice in Yellow River valley. The main food for north Chinese people is millet and wheat,
soybean，south plant rice（But early civilizations were concentrated in the North）…….