China

This is a little old (Dec. 11) but it’s another piece of news that highlights serious problems in China. Curiously, I wonder if Taiwan also has a similar problem given they also have a very high amount of universities (at least over 150 for a population of 23 million). The number of university graduates are exploding in China but the jobs are not. Ironically, blue-collar demand is still high with average starting wage for migrant laborers having grown by “nearly 80 percent” between 2003 and 2009, compared to nothing for college graduates. Actually, forget Taiwan, this sounds a little like Canada even, where there is a strong need for plumbers, electricians, nurses etc. but not for arts and social science graduates, which I am, at least during while I was there. Yet the problem seems more acute for China because the NY Times article says there are many people trained in accounting, finance and computer programming and not enough demand. The news doesn’t only reflect unemployment, but the problem of unequal development within China. While Shanghai is commonly seen to be the new New York, and other cities like Beijing and Guangzhou aren’t far behind, much of China is not like that. China’s government knows this but it’s a momentous task to spread the level of modernization and standards of living in Shanghai and Beijing into China’s other many cities and the vast interior. This is a telling quote from one person in the article: “Compared with Beijing, my hometown in Shanxi feels like it’s stuck in the 1950s,” said Li Xudong, 25, one of Ms. Liu’s classmates, whose father is a vegetable peddler. “If I stayed there, my life would be empty and depressing.”

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