I’ve mentioned the phenomenon of “lying flat” previously — people choosing to adopt a minimal work, minimal consumption lifestyle.
One could dismiss this as the attitude of “aimless Gen-Zers” — but now in China, it is spreading from the workers to the entrepreneurs.
In a nutshell: doing hard-driving business and going the extra mile in pursuit of profit are now increasingly perceived as a losing game, or no longer worth it. Between repeated weeks-long lockdowns as the CCP continues its Möbius Dick pursuit of the “zero COVID” white whale, the general economic malaise domestically, and export markets shrinking as countries in the developed world diversify supply chains away from China — not so much because of the CCP’s human rights abuses, but because supply from China has become too erratic — … entrepreneurs great and small cash in while they can, downsize, or go to bare survival business mode (“lying flat”).
And besides, even if you become a multi-millionaire, the CCP bureaucracy can strip you bare because of some selective-enforced offense, or because you didn’t say “All hail Chairman Xi,
king of the turtle-‘lovers’” with enough enthusiasm… And now it’s even become increasingly difficult to move your money abroad to buy assets the CCP regime cannot readily expropriate…
In turn, the “lying flat” causes either layoffs or a dearth of available jobs, which in turn reduces discretionary spending, which in turn makes the domestic business environment even more difficult…
Steven Levitt’s “Freakonomics” can be condensed down to two basic economic laws:
1. Humans respond to incentives
2. There is no other law of economics
The way ahead in today’s China is no longer through hard work or entrepreneurial acumen — it’s through corruption and brown-nosing your way up the CCP hierarchy. Small wonder the Chinese economic house of cards is teetering.
I’m a little skeptical the system will catastrophically collapse like some are predicting/hoping. But China has some very difficult years ahead of it. No wonder Emperor Xi is looking for anything to divert his people’s attention — even a military confrontation with the West over Taiwan. Remember how the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 started with the Tsar being told what his restive population needed was “a short victorious war”… Of course, it didn’t end that way…