Saturday, May 14, 2011

Scenes From Chinese Capitalism

From the BBC:

Here's a story an upmarket wine merchant told me about a particularly memorable - and potentially instructive - evening.

A group of Chinese businessmen arranged to meet up one evening for a drink. They were asked to bring their best bottle of wine.

Here was a selection of some of the best-known fine wines in the world. Chateau Lafite 1962, Chateau Latour 1970 - bottles that cost in the region of $1,600 (£1,000) each.

On arrival, the host said: "Gentlemen, show your wines," and the guests presented their bottles for each other's approval.

The host then called: "Gentlemen, uncork your bottle," which they did.

He then indicated a vast silver punchbowl and ordered: "Gentlemen, pour your wine," which they did - into the punchbowl.

The mingled contents of some of the most distinctive clarets in the world were then ladled out between them.

It is a memorable anecdote. But it is also instructive, because it illustrates the way China's new rich approach established luxury goods.

No Rules For The New Rich

From Al Jazeera:

In China, where a growing demand for organ transplants coupled with a dramatic shortage of donors has fuelled a rampant black market trade, selling your organs for cash is a mouse click away.

An internet search reveals a website offering kidneys for sale and the contact information of those able to procure them. A young woman, posing as a migrant worker from Hebei province, calls a man who has advertised on the website, identified as Mr He.

"I need money," she says over the phone. "Do you want a woman's kidney?"

Mr He asks her age. Twenty-five, she replies.

"Of course we want your kidney."

For Chinese, kidney donation is a click away.

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