My son sent me an article, he said “This is a bit dark Dad, but see what you think”.
I read it and yes it was dark, it was about traffic accidents becoming murder.
Apparently, what happens in China is sometimes a motorist accidentally hits a pedestrian then reverses over them to make sure they’re dead.
That sounded nuts to me, like an urban legend.
I was going to show it to my wife, who’s Chinese, but she’s from Singapore, probably the most law-abiding country on earth.
Singaporeans are a bit snooty about mainland China, they think it’s a bit like the wild west.
But she was freelancing with an art director, actually from China, called Xiao Chuan.
So I showed the article to him, I thought he’d tell me it was rubbish.
But he said “Yes Dave, that’s common knowledge in China” and he explained it to me.
Xiao Chuan said the communist government makes laws without bothering to think about the consequences.
They decided to reduce the number of road crashes in China by scaring people.
So they made a new law that if you hit someone you had to pay for them all the while they were recovering.
But the Chinese are very practical people, especially where money is concerned.
What if the person they hit was, or pretended to be, seriously ill for years, maybe forever?
They didn’t want to be paying out money with no end in sight.
But if the person died at the scene of the accident they only had to pay once.
So in damage limitation terms, it made sense to finish them off.
In 2013, the People’s Daily quoted a truck driver as saying “The idea that it is better to hit to kill than hit to injure has already become an unspoken rule in our profession. Each of us is just about able to pay the compensation required for hitting and killing a person, but I’m afraid that not everyone can pay the compensation for hitting and injuring a person.”
The Worker’s Daily also said the compensation for crippling or putting a person into a vegetative state could be bottomless.
The China Press reported that the average compensation for a death was around $50,000,
but one man who’d been disabled in a crash had received $400,000 over 23 years.
Xinhua News Agency reports that in the United States the ratio of injuries to deaths is 70 – 1, in China the ratio of injuries to deaths is 4 – 1.
Draw your own conclusions.
The main point is the Chinese government, like most people in power, think the way to motivate people is simply scare people.
Make people so scared of paying for someone’s care they won’t dare have an accident.
And that’s what a lot of western advertisers do, scare people it’s easier than thinking.
When I first began earning serious money I started to give 10% of my salary to Oxfam, and 10% to Save The Children.
But it wasn’t the scary commercials that made me do it.
It was finding out that I could deduct the money each month from my gross salary
The basic rate of tax was then 60%, so out of every pound I earned, the government took 60p and I only got to keep 40p.
I figured, for each pound I gave to charity, out of my gross salary, it was only costing me 40p net, while the government had to put back the other 60p.
So for once, I got to say where my tax money went, instead of just bombs and politicians’ expenses it went to the third world.
For me that was more motivating than just the usual scary commercials.
But of course, no-one would use that in their advertising.
That would involve coming up with new solutions, unconventional approaches.
Thinking is too much like work.