The American dream is still real but life has just become harder for people to achieve it, unless they are very bright and very determined.
The UK has not had any real social mobility for at least 20 years because the dream of home ownership has been removed from most ordinary people in the population until they are at least aged thirty-eight, unless they get help or receive a large lottery win.
In America, somebody from the most humble origins can still make it.
Much of the “low hanging fruit in America has gone” but not all of it.
So for them, they have already realised the “Chinese dream” and are searching for a better one elsewhere.
The Chinese Dream that the People’s Daily is talking about is the one that ordinary people aspire to.
For instance, the young graduate I met in Wuxi, who had studied in Beijing and international business at Warwick, simply wanted to earn enough money to buy a house, so he could propose to his girlfriend and get married. As it was getting married without a house is viewed as a “naked marriage”, something quite unsuitable. For him that was the personification of the Chinese dream because it meant he could go to his girlfriend’s parents and get their approval for something that most of us would take for granted.He only spoke to me about this when we both happened to see footage of British students rioting on the conference hall television screen storming Conservative Party headquarters at Millbank in London.He wanted an explanation of why the students were rioting, who had caused it and what the authorities were doing.
My explanation about tuition fees, promises made by Nick Clegg, the breaking of those promises and the Coalition agreement took a little time even for that very bright young man to take in but his expression was one of bewilderment or as we say here “they do not know they are born”.
For millions of impoverished Chinese, working in agriculture and living in grinding poverty, just to be able to work in a manufacturing plant and be able to send money home represents a massive increase in their standard of living.
For them,for a time at least ,that is their Chinese dream.
In time, the Chinese will develop their version of an aspirational dream that reaches everyone and what struck me during my time there, was their sense of mission, something which comes from inside, and is the opposite to the complacency, sense of entitlement and sense of drift, I see and feel that too many people have in the UK.
What is inside people’s heads if they have that sense of mission is an un-articulated dream; the Chinese have it; the Americans, or at least most of them still have it; my late parents had it; many modern immigrants have it.
The Chinese will articulate their dream but the People’s Daily are probably getting ahead of themselves at this time.