Financial Times reports on a disturbing trend in China: homeowners being evicted by the Chinese government to make way for development are fighting back with violent tactics. In China, the transfer of wealth from working class people to elites is abetted by the government in an even more dramatic way than here in the US, but the offense is the same. The drama of the FT article is only different by a matter of degrees from what is going on in the US. Here the theft of homes is done through a lack of enforcement of real estate and securitization laws, a lack of due process for home owners and on some occasions, actual physical theft by banks. Compared with the straight theft by developers, backed by government thugs, what happens in China is really similar. The surprising (and fortunate) thing is that while Chinese homeowners may now be turning to violent acts of protest, US homeowners have not. Sure, there’s the memorable scene in “Capitalism: A Love Story” where a recently evicted farmer talks about him now understanding how someone could get to a point where they take a gun and shoot up a place, but that’s just talk.
The economic inequality in China is similar to economic inequality in the US. The actions of wealthy elites and the government against working class people and homeowners is similar. The levels of protests by working class people remain dramatically higher in China than in the US. While violence has no place in protest, there needs to be (and I think there will be in the future) greater public outcry against policies which destroy middle class wealth and give it to people and banks who are already wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.