A tale of two cities: The social meanings of money and property in Mainland China and Taiwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article experiments with the use of popular novels to study the meanings of money and property in two important Asian nations, Mainland China and Taiwan. From important dictionaries of Chinese literature, we selected eight mid-length novels published in the respective countries from 1974 to 1982. Our reading of these 16 novels reveals that Taiwanese novels depict a more capitalistic culture and higher socioeconomic level than the Mainland novels do, whereas the Mainland novels place party leaders and intellectuals on a higher level than the Taiwan novels do, higher than businessmen. In both cultures, wealth is fundamentally evil. On the Mainland, wealth is said to destroy families, interfere with serious thinking, and lead to superficiality. In Taiwan, it brings tribulation, and it is far less important than simplicity, deep thinking, conformity, and responsibility. Finally, the Mainland novels blame government bureaucrats for all the troubles, whereas the Taiwan novels blame the meddling capitalists, especially American businessmen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-306
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2001

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A tale of two cities: The social meanings of money and property in Mainland China and Taiwan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this