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Gallup: More Americans "Struggling" to Afford Food Than Chinese

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For all the discussion of "knowledge economies" and the associated rise in overall standard of living, the country that makes our iPads seems to be better off these days than the country that dreamed them up.

According to a new Gallup survey, "the percentage of Americans saying they did not have money for food in the previous 12 months more than doubled from 9% in 2008 to 19% in 2011."

By comparison, the percentage of Chinese surveyed who said they "did not have enough money to buy food that they or their family needed" over the past 12 months, dropped from 16% to 6%.

From Gallup's Rajesh Srinivasan and Bryant Ott:

Chinese are also struggling less to afford adequate shelter. Sixteen percent of Chinese say in 2011 there have been times in the past 12 months when they did not have enough money to provide adequate shelter or housing for themselves and their families. This marks considerable progress since 2008, when 21% of Chinese had trouble providing shelter.

Fewer Americans are struggling with housing costs than Chinese, but the number of Americans who are struggling is increasing. Eleven percent of Americans say there have been times in the past 12 months when they could not afford adequate housing, up from 5% in 2008.

Recently, the Chinese village of Huaxi (pop. 2,000) has been the focus of attention over the solid-gold, one-ton water buffalo the town -- which, in actuality, is a corporation called the Jiangsu Huaxi Group -- installed in the lobby of its new skyscraper:

The Telegraph's Malcolm Moore explains that word of Huaxi's "economic miracle" -- a "validation of the Marxist-Leninist dream; a centrally-planned utopia where collectivism has made everyone not just equal, but rich as well," attracts thousands of tourists every day.

In the village hall, visitors watch as "singers, dancers and acrobats put on a show about Huaxi's prosperity," including such lyrics as, "We can travel around the world, eating KFC in New York and sleeping in Buckingham Palace."

However, Huaxi's riches have allowed the villagers to approximate world travel in a uniquely Chinese way.

There's the "Sydney" Opera House:

The "Arc de Triomphe":

Amusingly, it's all watched over by a not-entirely-convincing-but-you've-got-to-applaud-the-effort Capitol building, in a nod to the prosperous nation where 1-in-5 people can't afford food:

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