toward its explanation: the greater affluence of the United States in contrast to the wage differentials in the developing countries, where the embezzlement of $1 million could net one the death penalty (or nothing, if one could get away with it), and the development of a healthy legal system (which many developing countries do not have). The much higher levels of affluence in the U.S. compared with developing countries not only helps explain why embezzlement of the same amount of money might not seem as big a deal here, but also why many people do not embezzle---because they are paid such astronomical sums in salaries and perks (e.g., some CEOs). Still, embezzlement or corruption can occur in the United States and on a grand scale---just look at the stock market in the past few years, how Enron, Lucent, Martha Stewart, and so many others have used insider trading or false reporting of profits to manipulate the stock market---it also shows that a well- developed legal system that effectively prosecutes such behavior is of paramount importance.
Compared with the U.S., the corruption in China is characteristic of that of the developing countries. The failure of the republican Chinese government in early twentieth century to develop an effective legal system, coupled with the Chinese Communists' hatred of everything introduced from the West (including the modern legal system) and the annihilation of authority that we see from almost every story in Chen Jo-hsi's collection of stories The Execution of Mayor Yin, led to almost a total collapse of the Chinese social order by the end of the Cultural Revolution and a pervasive cynicism among the people against any authority and any policies of the party. Lawyers had low status in society in the late 1970s and early 1980s because no one believed law was independent from the decisions of the local party secretary or the directives of the central Party government. Another legacy of the Cultural Revolution was the fear of another similar political movement. Many parents encouraged their children to study science and technology so as to keep out of politics; many state officials, not knowing how long they would stay in their positions before another political movement swept them away, used their positions to maximize their personal profit. The dual economy made the latter possible. Therefore, if the son of an industrial minister worked for a private company, the company might have better access to certain raw materials (e.g., steel, coal, or faster delivery of goods) depending on the areas governed by the father. Many private companies were headed by sons and daughters of high Chinese officials. "Government profiteering" is the term for these officials who used their children in this way or who themselves directly participated in profiting from abusing their authority. When China started moving to a monetary economy in1980s, making money was no longer considered a shameful thing. Monetary corruption was on a steep rise, as reported from Perry Link in chapter 2. It causes public resentment especially because many people's lives did not become much better off because of the economic reform, so that the gap between the rich and the poor in the urban areas has risen dramatically.
Although more laws are in place, corruption remains a pervasive phenomenon to the extent that almost every one gives bribes to someone else for something (Link, 47-49): better housing (e.g., a larger apartment on a more desirable floor, facing a better direction, even when it is purchased by oneself), better jobs, promotion and pay raises, license for business operation, and so forth. To some extent, this level of corruption may have something to do with the change of the official verdict about money: to make