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The travails of Chinese university graduates

An article in the NYT:

The economy, despite its robust growth, does not generate enough good professional jobs to absorb the influx of highly educated young adults. And many of them bear the inflated expectations of their parents, who emptied their bank accounts to buy them the good life that a higher education is presumed to guarantee.

“College essentially provided them with nothing,” said Zhang Ming, a political scientist and vocal critic of China’s education system. “For many young graduates, it’s all about survival. If there was ever an economic crisis, they could be a source of instability.”

... 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.


Quant Headhunter
Marina is right, and it's a recurring pattern...

Ever since the early industrial revolution it has been necessary to educate an increasing % of your population to graduate level.

In Europe, education was close to being a monopoly of Christian churches, and even as the nascent changes started to occur in the 16th century, the established order of inherited aristocracy and theocracy started to be undermined.

Some religious types tried to hold back education, and either failed, discrediting them, or succeded leaving the areas they controlled, leaving them pathetically vulnerable. Thus the more advanced Islamic societies were kicked around, because although their peaks were higher than the European, their average was much lower. African societies never had a chance since almost no one was educated at all.
Even to this day, Christians fight against education, not just sex to allow their priests better access to children, but evolution, physics and more recently geology where it undermines their 'comfort' in what kids learn.

Increasingly educated people first rebel against the standard faith, whether that is is in fairy stories made up by perverts in mud huts in the middle east, or by Marx in the British Library. Then they just go in different directions.

That first of all kicked big holes in the Catholic church, then the various protestant groups became more fractured, then there was a century of revolutions in Europe against inherited power. The US war of independence was partly a front in the world war between England and France, and part of the revolution against inherited power, and the founders were very clear that it was not to be a religious state since they saw how bad that would be.

English, as a language grew as a cause of insurrection in this period

But as you educate people, religion declines, and Communism has all the attributes of religion, except a formal god.

China's bulk protected it against the first wave of attacks, losing only a few bits of its empire. Partly this was also due to a higher average education than the (mostly) Europeans who attacked it. But the % at graduate level was tiny, and chosen more by family than by personal merit.
Eventually the trend kicked in, and they took up Communism, which basically didn't work at all, but served the interests of the graduate level people who ran it.

There are smaller examples, pre-revolutionary Iran being a classic.

The Moslem part of the middle East actually has a lot of graduates, so be clear that this model predicts, change not improvement. It's hard to imagine any country in the middle East from Israel to Pakistan being in one piece 50 years from now.

Israel has a very high % of graduates, but still follows rules set up by perverts in tents, that's not going to last, and will probably end badly. So does Iran. oh dear...

It's not a coincidence that Tiannamen square happened as soon as the first generation of people who were part of a highly graduate demographic started to show. They've been distracted by making money, but that cannot last forever.

Similar things happened in Europe and the USA in the late 1960s. Admission to universities was still correlated with race and family, but was far more open, and so big social change happened.

India is different to China...
It is an English speaking democracy with the rule of law, and is thus more like a broken western state.
English is important here.
If you do not speak English you are not free. At best you are a slave who doesn't have a specific master. The correlation between civil liberties and the % of the population who can speak English is very high. Lots of reasons for this, but a core one is that you can read and hear about other cultures, and understand that the way things are in your state are not necessarily the way things have to be.
That's a very dangerous thought, but as I say above not quite the same thing as good. Fuckwit socialist economics spread more through the medium of English than through Russian.

Chinese people have been distracted by making money, the economic boom very roughly mirrors why England, uniquely in Europe never really had a revolution in the period of increased education, because it was a time when people could move themselves forward enough to relieve the pressure.

But China cannot have a boom forever, and people there are learning English.
That cannot remain stable.

I've not mentioned peasants here...
That's because there are few examples of successful peasant-driven revolts, more often they are called that by either the more educated people running them, or by socialist-leaning historians who like the idea.