Happiness in China
Introduction This paper mainly focuses on Chinese happiness index and its influencing factors analysis. There are many things we are eager to get, such as freedom, money, promising job, reputation, etc. However, we do not pursuit these things themselves, what we want is the improvement of happiness. Those things have value only when they directly or indirectly promote the feeling of happiness. Gross national happiness (GNH) is an indicator that measures quality of life or social development in a scientific term. In the 1970s, the king of Bhutan proposed the concept of Gross National Happiness.
He believed that government should aim to create happiness. The national happiness index should be improved including the factors both in the material and in the spiritual. The GNH index identifies four aspect of national happiness development: good governance, economic growth, cultural development and environmental protection (Hu, 2011). With the rapid development in China, the government takes the index to measure the national happiness. However, there is no exact quantitative definition about how many factors influence the GNH.
The paper therefore will analyze the factors that impact China’s gross national happiness from social, economic and politic perspective. Social Factors The education system Education in China does not focus on the students’ practical ability and interests in studying. These schools focus on students’ test scores instead of the students’ potential. Teachers desire to have the top students rather than “bad students”. A student’s scores represent his or her personality. From elementary to high school, students have no elective courses. The teachers’ task is to teach students how to get high scores on the exams.
The students are over stressed. They go to school about 6 o’clock in the morning, they stay up studying at night (Hu, 2011). It is impossible to become relax under such pressure. If students want to be admitted to top universities, they have to study hard. Studying is the only thing they need to do. The universities just require students’ outstanding scores from the college entrance exam. Therefore, a special group of students called returning students who re-attend classes after failing the college entrance exam. Many students re-attend high schools classes year after year until hey are admitted to a top university (Hu, 2011). The only scale to measure one’s capacity is the diploma. Furthermore, students would prepare the postgraduate examination in order to find a better job. From elementary to the college, students care for nothing except studying. The situation leads to a decreasing unhappiness index for China’s student and their parents (Hu, 2011). Quality of marriage In China, marriage is based on one’s family background, which is a significant factor that affects many couples of all ages. Even in modern times, a great number of young people in China will obey family arrangement.
Oftentimes, if one’s family live in poor conditions, the party will be rejected by the other party’s family with an excuse ( Luo, 2009). Even in marriage, the couples have to struggle for their future, such as house, car, money. If the couple fails, they may divorce each other. Sometimes, the marriage may only be decided by the money not affection. This is the reason that the Chinese couple have a low happiness index in marriage( Luo, 2009). Social security system China’s social security system is not perfect and in the process of reformation. What is worse, the aging of society is the new pressure added on society security system.
China’s population continues to grow. The expert predicted the total population will reach 1. 5 billion by the middle of the 21th century, and the elderly population will exceed 300 million. Due to the one-child policy, the common families have only one child. As a result, the number of retirees will continue to work to reduce the burden on their family (Hu, 2011). Furthermore, the ensure pension and medical insurance system is still incomplete in China. The members of family save money for the older family member not for traveling or entertaining. If someone is sick in family, it could make the whole family in dilemma (Hu, 2011).
These situations place a heavy burden on younger generations. The young people have the responsibility to take care of the parents and to rise the next generation. The problem also increases the unhappiness index for Chinese life. There are so many social factors that influence the Chinese happiness index. China’s government should take measures to provide the people a higher quality environment for life to increase happiness index. Economic Factors The price of commodities In China, the price of commodities has risen significantly. It has gone beyond the income level of many common people.
Housing price, especially, has gone too high in recent years (Orlik, 2013). Many people in China make every effort to earn money to buy a house. They work day and night. They give up the opportunity to travel. They dare not to have dinners in restaurants. They consider that whether they should buy clothes or not. All efforts are made to buy a house. Especially, people who borrow money from the banks are under a lot of pressure for repayment. Their mortgage payments are most part of their monthly salary so they do not have enough money to spend on other things.
Even if they are not satisfied with the current work, they dare not to resign. Due to high housing prices, many people have become slaves to their houses and live under tremendous pressure in all aspects. To their surprise, the prices of houses have become much higher! It is awkward that a common person cannot afford a common house in China (Orlik, 2013). There is no doubt that the high commodities price is not good for the physical and mental health of the people. In order to have better living, the people pay the high cost.
This situation is not beneficial for the improvement of happiness index in China (Orlik, 2013). Income Inequality China has great economic growth in the past few decades. However, the average incomes are higher in urban areas than in rural areas. The phenomenon of income inequality is obvious in China(Finance and economics,2012). The income of the famers is mainly depended on the land, but the agricultural output is limited. They cannot become rich just by a few acres of land. A lot of rural residents abandoned their land and go into cites with nothing, these peasants are called migrant laborers.
They can do are limited occupation due to the lack of professional skill. Women worked in labor-intensive goods and services with the minimum wages. Men worked as builders risking their lives. More badly, they may not be paid after the work is finished. Even through migrant laborers live in the same city with urban residents, their living conditions are totally different(Finance and economics,2012). The inequality income make the labors live in the bottom in the cities. However, migrant laborers still do not want to go home due to the worse living condition.
These situations make migrant laborers have low happiness index(Finance and economics,2012). Opportunity of job The imbalance of employment between supply and demand exists in China. China is in the peak of the population, there are a lot of workers need jobs. For the rural laborers, they would like to go to urban for better life environment. The urban has an increasing pressure on employment because the surplus rural laborers move to urban. The rapid growth of new workers is far more than the growth of job creation. The situation is also confronted by the college graduates.
The continuous development of Chinese higher education has produced hundreds and thousands of college graduates annually. Unemployed college graduates become a common phenomenon (Economy Watch, 2010). The unemployment problem influences the happiness index on Chinese people. More badly, it could lead to the social unstability. To solve this social problem, the government should make efforts for better employ environment (Economy Watch, 2010). Political factors Democracy Democracy is defined as the rule that manages state affairs according to the principle of equality, the minority is subordinate to the majority.
The United States and European countries have very mature democracy. However, China is a developing country,much of the system is not perfect and it does not achieve a complete democracy. (Pei, 2013) In western countries, the separation of the powers is a political doctrine. It is divided into executive power, judicial power and legislative power. Even if the president commits crime, judicial independence can prosecute his action. For example, the former president of Taiwan who broke the law, an independent judiciary made trial for him (Kelly, 2013).
While China implements the system of people’s congress and the Communist Party commands all the system, it produces the law privileges. They use the privilege to corrupt and the subordinate officials provide shelter for them. Furthermore, the phenomenon of bribery is very severe. Clerks pay bribes to get the ideal position. These situations result in people low happiness index (China daily, 2010). Freedom The political freedom involves many aspects including freedom of speech, freedom of assemble and freedom of vote and so on. These freedoms can regard as the sign of human right.
The political freedom should be treated as the ultimate goal of Chinese political reform and development. Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas. While Chinese people almost have no rights, the speech against party or government is prohibited by the reality of media and the internet; Freedom of assembly is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests. Due to the rule of one-party monopoly, the Communist Party of China do not allow to make other the parties or groups.
In this way, the power is not restricted. The individual without organization’s management have no power to oppose it; Freedom of vote refer to every citizen has the freedom right to vote for a leader. As long as you have ability and ambitions, everyone has the opportunity to be leader. The candidates can introduce policies to get votes so that people will benefit. Unlike China, official is appointed behind the relationship or money (political right and freedom, 2013) The system of organization in China leads to those problems, which is the reason that the Chinese have less political freedom.
The government should try to implement the multiple party coexist structure so that Chinese people can have real freedom. People could have a high happiness index in China. Equality The equality is a social state in which all people within a specific society have the same status in certain respects. The social equality includes equal rights under the law, such as security, voting rights, property rights, and equal access to education, health care and other social securities. It also includes equal opportunities and obligations. (Gay, 2013) In China, all kind of reasons cause to the inequality in many aspects.
Such as, there are inequality relationships between superior and subordinate in official circle because of the lack of the voting system. It has the inequality of education distribution because the imbalance development of district economic. These situations lead to a decreasing unhappiness index in China’s community. Conclusion Based on the researches, this paper mainly carried on a study in Chinese happiness index via analyzing the influenced factors. The social, economic and politic factors were considered as the factors that have great influence on happiness index.
In support of the basic result, this paper undertook a systematic analysis from these aspects. Ultimately, there is conclusion that all kinds of factors have a significant impact on happiness. Furthermore, considering the actual situation in China, the majority of population are middle and lower income workers, farmers, and unemployed. Their living standard determines the overall level of happiness in society. Therefore, it is very urgent and important to design proper policies to enhance these people’s happiness level. Several policy recommendations are put forward to the government to increase the citizen’s happiness index.
First, it could be suggested to build a sound social system. The government should remain a primary priority to make Chinese residents get better education and satisfy their needs. And building a social security system protects the middle and lower income residents. In addition, the government should guide sustainable and stable development of economics. It is important to regulate wealth gap between rich and poor and control the excessive imbalance of income distribution. The government should also adjust economic structure and improve the demand capacity for labor to reduce unemployment.
Finally, the politic factors have the lowest feeling of happiness in society. The government can reform and establish multi-party democratic constitutional system instead of one-party monopoly in china. The rights, free press, freedom of assembly and open elections, is the basic need of human beings for high happiness (Hu, 2012). Because of the constraint of time, this paper ignored some other factors when doing research. Furthermore, many countries have a higher level of happiness, such as some Nordic countries. We can compare Chinese economical, social and political data with those countries.
Through comparison, we can detect some deeper reasons to guide our new research. References Centre For Bhutan Studies. (2013). Bhutan GNH index. Retrieved from http://www. grossnationalhappiness. com/articles/ CSR. (1998, October). The development research center of the state council of the People’s Republic of China. Retrieved from http://www. chinacsrmap. org/Org_Show_EN. asp? ID=133 China Daily. (2010, February). Retrieved from http://www. chinadaily. com. cn/china/2010npc/2010-02/09/content_9449872. htm Finance and economics. (2012). A new survey illuminates the extent of Chinese income inequality.
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