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Forum Post: "Struggle Of The Ant Tribe" - China's Broken Dreams

Posted 2 years ago on Aug. 27, 2012, 4:11 p.m. EST by kaiserw (211)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Those who think that China's centrally-planned transition to the world's leading, fastest growing economy in the shortest time in world history, coupled with its attempt to shift from a mercantilist, export-driven economy, to one sporting the world's largest middle class is progressing smoothly and according to plan, especially as related to millions of overeducated young adults who are finding it impossible to find a job in China's big cities, and find their diplomas uselss in the small ones, are urged to watch the following documentary exposing "China's Broken Dreams." From Al Jazeera: "[The Chinese] people are discovering that society's resources and opportunities are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. People in the middle and lower strata of society are becoming increasingly marginalised and are finding that improving their lives is getting harder. [This imbalance could lead to] the rich getting richer and the poor poorer, the strong permanently strong and the weak permanently weak .... The biggest harm may not be in the gap between rich and poor itself, but the deterioration of the overall societal ecosystem." Translation: class war unlike anything seen even in America, where class war is the basis for the entire presidential campaign. Because unlike the US, "class war" in China will have a far more true to its name outcome.

From Al Jazeera:

Despite the country's rapid economic growth, many young Chinese are growing disillusioned as they struggle to find jobs.

After two decades of economic reform, per capita GDP has risen 13-fold, and average salaries in major cities are on par with those in many developed countries. The post-80s generation, the first to come of age in this era of opportunity, has been raised on a belief that if one can do well in school, graduate from a good university and work hard on his or her career, one can enjoy a measure of success.

Instead, many find themselves squeezed by skyrocketing housing costs, rising prices for basic necessities and family pressures. As a large percentage of the post-80s generation are only children, they alone will be expected to provide for their parents and older relatives.

As many as three million young Chinese professionals toil in slum-like conditions in cramped housing on the outskirts of big cities. They are known as 'ant tribes,' a term coined by scholar Lian Si, China's foremost researcher on post-80s graduates.

"They share every similarity with ants," writes Lian. "They live in colonies in cramped areas. They're intelligent and hardworking, yet anonymous and underpaid."

Li Zhirui from China's northeast is one of them. Home is an eight square metre space outside Beijing that costs 500 Chinese yuan per month, a quarter of his salary. He dreams of one day buying an apartment, but with average real estate prices in the capital soaring to more than 20,000 yuan per square metre, he could be in for a very long wait.

He has already lost his fiancée, who dumped him when he refused to buy a second-hand car and an engagement ring.

The experiences of Li and other 'ant tribes' resonate strongly with young Chinese and have spawned a popular song and a TV series called Struggle of the Ant Tribe.

But for some despair takes over. Suicide has become the biggest cause of death for Chinese between 15 and 34 years of age.

In a recent trend, some young graduates are deciding to flee the big cities and instead seek opportunity in smaller cities and towns. But there, too, they are frustrated, as they discover that good diplomas - and even ability - do not open doors. Local networks and family background do.

Leading Chinese sociologist Guo Yuhua calls this phenomenon of young Chinese "escaping and returning" an example of widespread disappointment that is spreading across China. She says people are bitter when they see their social status languishing in contrast to the "rise of a great and powerful nation".

"People are discovering that society's resources and opportunities are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. People in the middle and lower strata of society are becoming increasingly marginalised and are finding that improving their lives is getting harder," she says.

She warns this imbalance could lead to "the rich getting richer and the poor poorer, the strong permanently strong and the weak permanently weak .... The biggest harm may not be in the gap between rich and poor itself, but the deterioration of the overall societal ecosystem."

from: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/struggle-ant-tribe-chinas-broken-dreams

It's all so insane, just when you think it can't get any worse, it does: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrhJcqgXrlw

21 Comments

21 Comments


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[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

people think efficiency doesn't eliminate jobs

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 2 years ago

Automation creates new jobs. I don't hear anyone complaining about the buggy whip factories being closed down. There's jobs as web designers, social media consultants, etc. It changes.

But that's not what's causing China stress. It's the totalitarian economy, empty cities, central planning that hires people based on cronyism versus capability. China is just the newest example of why central planning always ends in tears. It's about to get a lot worse over there.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

And what do you call our broken system? An old example of failing capitalism barely able to stand as the rich get even richer and the poor and what's left of the middle class plummet to the bottom of a broken economy.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

Automation creates new jobs. I don't hear anyone complaining about the buggy whip factories being closed down. There's jobs as web designers, social media consultants, etc. It changes.

only if those that own the resources want a website

those with money determine what jobs people will do

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 2 years ago

Innovation creates increases in standards of living. Creating make work jobs, or freezing technology to get 100% employment, or enlisting the entire population into the military to make them all employed, won't solve problems, it will simply create starvation, poverty and advances totalitarianism. It always does.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

there would be no need to create employment

if people have the resources they need

the only reason people need jobs is to get access to money

so they can buy food and pay rent

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 2 years ago

people don't get resources for free, unless you live in a communist society, and even then you work, or get shot. Even if you work, if the railroad doesn't run right, sometimes you get shot. It doesn't work, it can't work, it's been proven with the soviets, and the north Koreans.

Everything has a cost. Over human history we evolved the best thing we could find to use as an exchange mechanism, money. Not even chimps have the logical capacity to utilize symbolic exchanges of money though you can get them to trade a banana for a grape if that's what they want.

Money and prices are responsible for the prosperity we have beyond 16th century technology. Money enables specialization (engineers, doctors, computer programmers) which enables scale and technology - doing work with less effort. Without it, we would all be subsistence farmers/hunters/gatherers, the world would be much more polluted and we'd all live in abject poverty and on average die at age 35.

Money isn't the problem, prices aren't the problem, it's how they've been perverted by some people having total power over others that is the problem. It's theft, tyranny, and power over others, humankind's perennial enemy.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

the farms grow heir food with the sun and water both free

labor to plant the food is necessary but that labor is all a small percentage of the work force

and getting smaller with factory farms

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 2 years ago

Good, ego must be controlled.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (631) 2 years ago

Once again, credit card debt deceit will prove to be a root cause. Plus, overpopulation does not help either. Although, how is it China has overpopulation when it's only one child per married couple?

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 2 years ago

Chinese buy everything with cash. There aren't credit cards in china yet. Read my post above, it's central planning government directed economies and cronyism, not overpopulation, debt, or anything else.

China actually has a terrifying demographic chart. Their population will make Japan's demographics look good by comparison in about 20 years.

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (631) 2 years ago

If there is no debt, as you claim, then why isn't there more entrepreneurialism going on?

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 2 years ago

We're on the edge of a worldwide depression. Look at the energy consumption of China lately, despite the lies coming out of the Chinese government, production is down. Europe is crashing, Japan will crash soon, it's all a ponzi. People with wealth and common sense in China, are reluctant to start businesses in an economy built on a credit bubble amongst other reasons. If it doesn't pan out and you lay off workers, you could get thrown in jail, or killed by the gov.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/marc-faber-iron-ore-lady-has-sung

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/marc-faber-keynesian-folly-missing-inflation-and-bubble-blowing

[-] 1 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (631) 2 years ago

too much consumer debt causes all of those issues to occur. And it's an ever increasing death spiral.

The more debt, the more interest rate charges, the less real earnings go to buy another worker's products and services, the more money that goes to interest rates, the more money the rich have to reinvest so they can make more and more money, creating a downward economic death spiral that the world will not recover from.

[-] -1 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

Ehh... we are the world's marketplace and when we adopt austerity people everywhere starve. It's not just China but all of Europe, too. In Italy children now remain with their parents into their 30s; in Germany over one third of all young women have opted out of parenthood. Spain will soon cease to exist as a viable economic entity.. But none of this has affected China's ability to buy up the world's resources, which is exactly what it's doing.

[-] 0 points by kaiserw (211) 2 years ago

When the entire world is a ponzi scheme, arguing about austerity versus anti-austerity is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

This explains it nicely: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5QwKEwo4Bc

[-] 0 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

I'm not arguing the pros or cons of austerity - the market is shrinking. Meanwhile, the Chinese ARE buying up the worlds resources - they bought up a large portion of Iraq's oil leases, purchased Portugal's utilities through bailout, purchased 18% of GM. It goes on and on... eventually they will own all of America's social programs simply because we are so reliant on their dollars.

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 2 years ago

I agree with you on the resources thing. They clearly are. They're dumping coal into the harbors when they don't have enough space for it. Some people think they're planning long term for a world war to have a stockpile of resources. However, I think their hubris will be their downfall. Central planning a doomsday cache won't save them from the disaster it creates in human costs. A revolution is ripe to occur in China.

[-] 0 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

Contrary to popular belief, economic liberalization will NOT transform China into democracy and as long as their "disorganization" remains capable of snuffing out insurrection - and it will - they will continue on the path of world domination. They are currently financing international ports worldwide... they will control the world through ownership of all resources. We've already lost the Sino-American balance of terror.

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 2 years ago

The people are pissed, and they're getting more pissed. Economic liberalization usually has other side effects, such as that people discover they would like to have some freedom, and would prefer not to be oppressed. The Chinese government is working with maximum effort to silence any protests, or civil unrest. At some point it will catch fire.

[-] 0 points by funkytown (-374) 2 years ago

In '89 they put down what, 125 simultaneous insurrections? To put this another way, I'm just not believing that sino american balance of economic terror thing anymore. In my opinion, the Chinese have won.