In a kind of cruel reversal, China’s old migrant class — uneducated villagers who flocked to factory towns to make goods for export — are now in high demand, with spot labor shortages and tighter government oversight driving up blue-collar wages.
But the supply of those trained in accounting, finance and computer programming now seems limitless, and their value has plunged. Between 2003 and 2009, the average starting salary for migrant laborers grew by nearly 80 percent; during the same period, starting pay for college graduates stayed the same, although their wages actually decreased if inflation is taken into account.The latter paragraph sounds much like what we have going on in the good ol' U.S.A. Of course, we shipped our factory jobs to China--so there is no comparison in that respect. Arguably, the college grads in China have it worse though. Since their parents are farmers and factory workers, they can't take their children in when they fall on their over-educated faces. Instead, they are living in a modern day ghetto of intelligencia:
Liu Yang, a coal miner’s daughter, arrived in the capital this past summer with a freshly printed diploma from Datong University, $140 in her wallet and an air of invincibility.
Her first taste of reality came later the same day, as she lugged her bags through a ramshackle neighborhood, not far from the Olympic Village, where tens of thousands of other young strivers cram four to a room.
Unable to find a bed and unimpressed by the rabbit warren of slapdash buildings, Ms. Liu scowled as the smell of trash wafted up around her. “Beijing isn’t like this in the movies,” she said.Wow. That makes your momma's basement sound lovely, doesn't it. In china, they call their unemployed graduates "ants":
Chinese sociologists have come up with a new term for educated young people who move in search of work like Ms. Liu: the ant tribe. It is a reference to their immense numbers — at least 100,000 in Beijing alone — and to the fact that they often settle into crowded neighborhoods, toiling for wages that would give even low-paid factory workers pause.We call educated people "poor." It's easier and requires no sociology report.
It's nice to know that we're not alone. China took our factory jobs, but is suffering nonetheless. I said it before and I'll say it again--an education is a luxury that many can't afford, especially when it results in lesser earning power. It's the possibly the worst investment out there. Connections will get you farther.