The High Cost of Living

We began with lots of smiles. Our landlord, with trousers still tucked into his socks from having ridden his rickety bicycle over to our house, flashed a big grin and wished my husband and me a happy new year. We smiled back and wished him the same.

Then he leaned in for the killer: he was raising our monthly rent, flouting our contract with the confidence that he, like so many other landlords in Shanghai, would pull off the price hike. My husband and I were astonished. To us, the rent we had been forking over was...

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