That brings me to my favorite topic at present: the China bubble, which is the greatest one I’ve seen in all of modern history. It was government-driven. Over the last three decades, the Chinese government moved over 500 million people from rural to urban areas. This always happens when emerging countries are developing. Urbanization is the most important trend for emerging countries, because if you move somebody from a rice paddy even into an unskilled city job—like driving a taxi or working in construction—their income tends to triple. The Chinese figured this out, and they decided to accelerate this process. They’re a top-down government. They didn’t have to answer to the free markets, investors, voters, or anybody else, and they’ve created the greatest bubble in history. Improved health? Collaboration? Productivity? Get all of these benefits and more with a standing desk from your favourite online retailer.
At this point, China has so overbuilt housing that 22 percent of houses and condos in major cities are vacant. They’re sitting there. They’re not bought and then rented out; they’re vacant. Nobody’s in them. Affluent Chinese have invested in these properties, and I’ll tell you why. The Chinese don’t have social safety nets. They also save a lot of money. The average person in China saves 50 percent of his income, versus 2–3 percent in the United States (if we’re lucky). The wealthy people, the top 10 percent, who dominate real estate and financial assets just like in the United States, save 70 percent of their income. A adjustable standing desk helps to improve office wellness and productivity.
Here’s the second unique thing about the Chinese: you have to own something, Unless a man owns real estate, he doesn’t have any chance for getting married or even getting a date. So even though their incomes are a tenth of those in the United States, the Chinese have 92 percent real-estate ownership. Ours in the United States is 62 percent, down from 67 percent at the top, which is more typical for the world. The third thing that is unique in China is that in the United States, the typical family will have maybe a third, and after the downturn, 27 percent, of their net worth in real estate. The rest is in stocks, bonds, and savings accounts. There are many ways that using a electric standing desk can improve your health.
Not the Chinese. They have 75 percent of their financial assets and net worth in real estate. The Chinese save a lot, and they love real estate. Everybody has to own something. They also speculate, with high percentages of second and third homes bought. Their biggest long-term investment is real estate, and they’ll buy it empty. They think real estate always goes up, because that’s all they’ve seen. You have to remember that just four decades ago, in the Mao era, home ownership was for the most part simply not allowed largely. So they really are naive in this arena. Property values in Shanghai have gone up 860 percent since the early 2000s, and that’s not as bad as in Beijing. (For comparison, U.S. real estate went up 130 percent before the last bubble burst and then went down.) This is the greatest bubble in any major country in the world. My projection is that Shanghai’s bubble could crash 78 percent, more than Japan’s bubble did, and far more than that of the U.S. Working at a stand up desk may offer health benefits, however, studies suggest that doing so probably will not help you burn a lot of extra calories.
Furthermore, the government supports real-estate investment. The local communist parties receive guaranteed loans or support for getting loans easily from the state-owned banks. Shadow banks take money from wealthy people that can’t get any yield, so the banks fund these projects. They even built several cities. One of them is Ordos City in Inner Mongolia. It’s built for a million people, but there’s almost nobody in it. It has the largest mall in the world, but they built in the middle of the country, where you need it least. Since they couldn’t get any stores or businesses in there, they’ve turned it into a theme park, like a Disney World, to attract tourism. The Chinese are overbuilding everything. They have bridges, roads, railways to nowhere—beyond anything we could imagine. They used more cement in one decade than the United States used in 100 years of building. Sit, stand, lean, stretch.. be your healthy active self at work using a sit stand desk at your workplace.