Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Worrying over Inequality

Strange place for this to be a worry:

Billboards that promote luxury and indulgence undermine the goal of maintaining harmony between the rich and the poor, Beijing's mayor complained, according to the Xinhua news agency Thursday.

Billboards promoting expensive villas, cars and other luxury goods plaster Beijing, often on the high walls that are erected to hide building sites and the demolition of older houses.

"Many use exaggerated terms that encourage luxury and self-indulgence which are beyond the reach of low-income groups and are therefore not conducive to harmony in the capital," Xinhua cited mayor Wang Qishan as telling a seminar on outdoor advertising.

Words like "supreme luxury," "utmost prestige," "extreme comfort" and "hedonism" frequently appear in advertisements for apartments that sell for more than 10,000 yuan ($1,299) per square meter, as well as for townhouses and villas costing millions, Xinhua noted.

I thought they'd stopped worrying about inequality and were in the "it is glorious to be rich" stage?