Saturday, February 21, 2009
China's College Complex
"Oakley Qiao had every reason to feel confident when he began his job hunt last September. He was a student at one of China's top graduate business schools. ... But on Tuesday, Mr. Qiao walked away empty-handed from the campus of Peking University to take a train northeast to his frigid hometown. ... 'Everyone's anxous,' he said as he sat in a campus cafe the day before leaving. 'The companies who come to the job fairs, they just come to give presentations, not to offer jobs.' ... Now, Chinese white-collar businesses are starting rounds of layoffs, slashing salaries and cutting the year-end bonuses that employees highly prize. ... So worrisome has the situation become that some students and Peking University, one of China's most prestigious, are even talking about joining the army or becoming butchers.. (A well-known alumnus recently made a fortune opening pork shops). Last year, 10,000 college students joined the military, a much higher number than in previous years, according to the official newspaper of the People's Liberation Army. The anxiety level of the ruling Communist Party, whose legitimacy is pegged to maintaining economic growth, is rising in lockstep with that of frustrated workers and job seekers. ... 'Under the current situation, new social conflicts will be created nonstop,' Chen Jiping, deputy secretary of the Communist Party's central poltical and legislative affairs committee, said this month in Outlook, a magazine published by Xinhua, the state news agency. ... The plight of college graduates is expected to get worse because Chinese universities are increasing their enrollments each year. Furthermore, the ranks of overseas Chinese who are returning to look for work are swelling because of the recession in the [US] and Europe", Edward Wong, NYT, 25 January 2009.
This situation is potential sociological dynamite. Unemployed college graduates may push China into war. China fell prey to the US's economic growth fallacies in increasing the percentage of its population going to college. China appears he have its own Harvard MBA Indicator, that of Peking University. What's wrong with being a butcher anyway? See my 25 October and 15 November 2007, 20 January, 6 October and 4 December 2008, 3 February 2009 posts: