Skip to comments.China’s Gig Economy is Driving Close to the Edge
Posted on 09/12/2018 11:32:56 AM PDT by Zhang Fei
In the 1980s, free-marketeers, wielding pagers and zipping around the streets of Chinas biggest cities in minibuses, boldly navigated the emergent gray zones of a novel economic frontier of reform and opening. In the 1990s and into the new millennium, a flood of migrant workers, braving semi-legal status and the contempt of city dwellers, left their provincial homes and poured into urban factories, becoming the human engine driving Chinas continued growth.
Now, in 2018, it is the millions of truck drivers, food delivery couriers, livestreamers, and freelancersmany still migrantspiecing together their livelihoods in Chinas booming gig economy who are on the cutting edge of the countrys economic growth. Like their predecessors, these new economic pioneers highlight the tensions between engineering and sustaining growth in the worlds second-largest economy and maintaining ideological and political control over 1.4 billion people. Those tensions are manifesting in strikes and protests across the country, led by workers fed up with being at the bottom of the pile.
The rapid expansion of short-term contracts and freelance work over permanent jobs is due in part to top-down policies intended to reboot Chinas slowing economic growth and propel the transition from a manufacturing to a service-based economy. In 2015, Premier Li Keqiang unveiled the Internet Plus strategy to encourage hundreds of thousands of peoples passion for innovation to build the new engine for economic development.
Over 110 million freelance writers, cab drivers, petsitters, livestreamers, house cleaners, couriers, and others have become part of Chinas gig economy, accounting for about 15 percent of the entire labor forcecompared to about 10 percent in the United States. According to Zhaopin.com, Chinas largest online recruiting firm, demand for part-time or freelance jobs nearly doubled from 2015 to 2016, outpacing growth for full-time work.
(Excerpt) Read more at foreignpolicy.com ...
China is in trouble if it hits a recession. The land ownership bubble is huge. And the overbuilding is ridiculous. Also, the quality control does not exist. But the pollution does. Pollution of every form in China is greater than humanity has ever endured.
Family members just returned from a 3-week stay in China. They were aghast at the oppressive air pollution everywhere.
This is fascinating. Thanks for posting.
I was somewhat surprised the government is putting policies in place to “propel the transition from a manufacturing to a service-based economy.” Its rather ironic we are working feverishly in the US to re-grow our manufacturing base that largely left for China. Why would China want to do this? Are wages and salaries already so high that they cannot compete with Vietnam Nam and other cheap SE Asian countries?
It’s funny — here in Idaho, people have been doing whatever it takes to survive and prosper for generations. We had a “gig economy” long before it was called a “gig economy.” I remember my grandfather doing all sorts of different work to make ends meet in the 60s. He was a farmer, company mercantile store manager, rat exterminator, roller rink operator, barkeep and recycled cans he found for a few more dollars. Whatever it took to make it in the world. Really nothing new here except the Internet makes it easier to find the work instead of having to wear out shoe leather pounding the pavement.
The Gig economy is also fundamentally Chinese .Entrepreneurs have been stifled Freedom to act in one's own self interest has been wholeheartedly accepted. Chicaps have emerged by the millions, perhaps tens of millions.
Ahhh......the meaning dawn
Gig is a single job as in a musicians gig.
Gig is not gig as in giga byte.
You mean I don’t have to hold down a billion jobs in the Giga economy? I was closing in on that number, but then I retired.
Am curious if this young woman, Viola Rothschild is connected to the Rothschild family at all.
She is a Fulbright scholar from Bowdoin College, then Oxford, member of Council on Foreign Relations. Writing for FP.com, owned by Washingtonpost group (Jeff Bezos)
Fires fueled by burning dung within a tent with only a hole in the roof for ventilation may have come close.
There are some interesting YouTube videos about foreigners doing “gig” jobs in China, as phony DJs, people put in meetings to make an impression you have foreigners involved in your company etc.
These are supposedly called “white monkey” jobs because you just jump around but have no brains and really aren’t there for anything but show. As can be guessed there is no political correctness in China.
Was at a trade show in China. As part of our group, had a lovely young blonde American woman with us. I would consider her "plump."
Some Chinese men (I think workers at the venue) were wandering around and stopped to look at her. They learned I spoke Chinese, so started to pepper me with questions. How much does she weigh? Do American men like fat girls? Will she be able to find a husband?
Chinese have taboo topics, but almost none of them match our own Western taboo / PC topics.
[Chinese have taboo topics, but almost none of them match our own Western taboo / PC topics.]
There is very little recognition of the fact that somehow, even blue collar Chinese emigres with little or no education and no English somehow seem to do well overseas. The question is whether *any* of China’s development had to do with the Party’s rule, as opposed to its undoing of its past disastrous economic policies.
“The land ownership bubble is huge.”
In Communist China, all urban land is owned by government as per the Chinese constitution.
It gets leased out on long-term leases.
“people have been doing whatever it takes to survive and prosper for generations.”
It reminds me of the song: “Country Boys Can Survive”.
’propel the transition from a manufacturing to a service-based economy.’ ... Why would China want to do this?”
To copy the US and also because Chinese manufacturers are becoming more labor efficient.
“Pollution of every form in China is greater than humanity has ever endured.”
The UK killer fogs of the early 1950’s were bad.
They were so dense that a woman about to gave birth drove to the hospital with her car door open and looked down on the dividing line of the road so she could steer her car.
“Why would China want to do this?(transition from a manufacturing to a service-based economy.)”
China is dis proportionally dependent on manufacturing goods for export (which makes them vulnerable - all their eggs in one basket). There is also just not enough potential global market remaining for them to take, to maintain such high growth rates going forward, as they enjoyed over the last decades, based on manufacturing alone. They need to produce millions of new jobs annually for their youth, and their manufacturers are shedding jobs through rapid automation. They have to diversify.
The long party is likely coming to an end for the Chinese mercantilist model of exporting manufactured goods.
“Are wages and salaries already so high that they cannot compete with Vietnam Nam and other cheap SE Asian countries?”
Yes, China is no longer the low cost labor market. The cost spread is already wide, and continuing to grow.
“The question is whether *any* of Chinas development had to do with the Partys rule”
Average GDP growth in Russia was higher the last 70 years under the Czars, then the 70 years under the communists.
Communism is a huge drag on any economy - the more it is tried, the worse things get, and the less it is applied, the better things get.
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