becoming a consumer society, but which until recently understood itself as a labor-intensiveproduction country, presents highly interesting considerations about this transition. Brazil, asa historically unequal society that in past decades has had to deal with several economiccrises, has already made the transition to a consumption focused economy. In how far thisdecision has the potential to combine economic sustainability with more socially equitablegrowth is discussed below.
Inequality should be a focal topic for developing countries in the discussion of theirdevelopment issues. Hout (2006) points out how the “run-up in social inequality in manynations over the last 20 years has led to a variety of social and economic problems.”According to the author, claims are made "that cross-sectional inequalities overstate theproblems because today's inequalities are undone by tomorrow's social mobility." Hout'saffirmations criticize the optimism about social mobility as "misplaced". While socialmobility does occur, it is far from perfect, even in the most open societies of Western Europe.On average, a person's place in society maintains a strong, positive correlation with socialorigins - between 0.25 and 0.40 in rich countries. Furthermore, most mobility that occursreflects occupational upgrading and economic growth that affects everyone, regardless oftheir social origins. While this may mask some of the social consequences of inheritableprivilege, it does not negate them. 4.1 Inequality in Chinese Policies: the way out of the trap Over the past decades China has come to be known as the factory and growth miracleof the world since its first experiments during the Reform and Opening Period with venturecapital and export-oriented growth policies (Kuijs & Wang, 2005; Li, 2016). In the face of achanged global environment that has been shaken by several economic and financial crises atregional and global levels, as well as a dramatically changed domestic situation with anever-more stable and urban middle class, Beijing's policy makers are now turning to domesticconsumption and innovation as a means to maintain high levels of growth (Lardy, 2006). One of the most significant marks beginning this transformation process can be seenin the “denunciation and termination of the party line 'taking the class struggle as the keylink'” and Deng Xiaoping's declaration to focus on "making economic construction central".They were accompanied by major reforms of CCP language concerning social classes,"unitingallforcestomeetfuturechallenges"andovercomingtherevolutionary-against-counter-revolutionarydivide.Theresultingprofoundchangesinownership structures gave rise to a rapidly growing non-publicly-owned economy and a newsocial strata of private business owners. The unprecedented rate of urbanization and rapidindustrialization transformed one fifth of a billion peasants into "new workers" in China'sgrowing East coast and inland metropoles. At the same time there was significant growth of