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This book argues that Western class categories do not directly apply to China and that the new Chinese middle class is distinguished more by socio-cultural rather than by economic factors. Based upon qualitative interviews done in Guangdong in South China, the study looks at entrepreneurs, professionals, and regional party cadres' from various age groups, showing the complex networks among these different groups and the continuing significance of cadres. The study also explores generational differences, exposing how older generations are pragmatic and business-oriented, rather than personally oriented in their consumption whereas the younger generations appear more flexible and hedonistic and tend to be more individualistic, materialistic and oriented towards personal gain. In neither older or younger generations is there much evidence that the new Chinese middle class is taking on a political role in advocating political reform alongside market reforms as is suggested by some Western stratification theorists. Despite being in the vanguard of consumption, they are the laggards in politics.