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Old 05-28-2013, 06:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Data1000 View Post
In regard to working conditions in China, there is a wide range of conditions. One can find ample evidence to make the argument that working conditions for factory workers is poor or find evidence to argue that the conditions are fine. Most of my experience comes from working conditions in Shanghai and in China's southern provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi. My service professional friends in Shanghai seem to enjoy good working conditions with salaries that allow for them to live a middle class life. Approximately 1/2 of them are encouraged by their employers to use all of their vacation time.

My experiences with southern China friends, include mostly people who live a more difficult life. They work in office support positions or in factories. They all have very modest salaries and most complain about their work environments and supervisors. The factory workers, who finished high school, work much longer hours, often with only two days off per month.
It's much the same in America really. Working conditions vary a lot. I think in a capitalistic society you'll find more variance in quality of life. Some people worked really hard, others having it very easy...
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:26 AM
 
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I can't really say for India, but I can tell you how quality of life has changed in China based on my very own experience.

My parents were both born in small vilages in north of China in the 1950s, when the life was really hard everywhere. Three meals a day could be guaranteed but there was simply not enough nutrition. Rice was regarded as a precious food, similar to today's lobsters, not to mention fish, meat and fresh vegetables. Then they were given opportunities to receive free college edudation based on merits, which changed their life dramatically. I have to point out that neither of them was born in a priviledged family. Only my mother's father worked as a low-level white collar (because he knew how to read and write) and others were all farmers. Both my grandmothers are illiterate because women received minimal education at that time (as opposed today, you see many Chinese girls, even more than Chinese guys, in American universities).

Upon graduation, they were both "arranged" to work in a big city in northern China, approximately 300 kilometers from their respective homes, and they met and fell in love. Today they both retired with satisfactory pension and health insurance. The package is not that good compared to American standards, but it is enough to support their simple life after retirement and a vacation or two each year within China or in neighboring countries. I have only one grandmother in her 80s and quite healthy. Starting from a few years ago, she continues to receive a stipend from the government each month although she has never worked in her life. The stipend is given to all the elderly over 80 years old. Again, the stipend is very moderate but she is very appreciative. She has three children who can support her without much difficulty. She does not have a health insurance of her own but her daily prescription got covered by her son's insurance. If there were an operation needed (knock on the wood), most likely the expense would be shared by three children.

The culture really values familial ties, which in turn reduces the possibility of a failed sibling or the elderly to live on streets or in slums. Children who do not support their old folks are frowned upon. Chinese families actually take over part of the responsibility of social security system.

During the past 20 years, 2 of my grandmother's three children moved to the cities while one stayed in the village, which was later on urbanized. Nobody works on farms. All 3 children bought their cars, the last one bought his car about 3 years ago. It is still quite affordable to build houses in rural areas because the land is free for local residents. In the cities, housing becomes muc more expensive than before but people at my parents' age usually have their apartments since in early years apartments were "allocated" by their companies with small fees (usually state-owned). The pressure of buying apartments usually sits on the younger generations (those who were born after the 1980s) or the "new-comers" who just recently move into the cities after the housing price took off. But again, because of this family tie, most parents will help children buy their first apartment.

Maybe because I am lucky, or because all my family and relatives live in the relatively rich East, nobody from my entire big family lives under poverty. I'd say that the economic growth benefits most people -- the real problem is that some gained much more than others. There has been a lack of redistribution system. Some had 20% increase in income but others gained 1000%. I think the government has realized that this problem needs to be resolved asap. We see a series tax reducations for farmers and a stronger labor law that assure the workers' benefits. If you ever do business with a Chinese factory, you should know that the human cost has increased tremendously in the past few years because of tightened laws. Yes, there are factories where workers have to work long hours but they get paid better and there's hope for promotions. Otherwise, these young people will work there for 6 months and moved to a better factory! Many farmers also return to their homes because the elimination of agriculture tax (first time ever in entire Chinese history) greatly increased farmers' incomes. They do not have to migrate to big cities in order to receive comparable level of income.

If we look at more macro-level data, we can see that the whole nation benefits from the economic growth, and serves as the long-lasting power for future growth. Education - nowadays I hardly come across any young people - male or female, coming from cities or rural areas - who are illiterate. Malnutrition may exist somewhere, but it is extremely rare. The number of cases can be big but if you count the percentage, I am sure it is very small. Life expectancy in China is 73 while US is 79 and India is 64.
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Old 06-03-2013, 02:41 AM
 
Location: SGV, CA
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OP's idyllic view of rural/farm life doesn't mesh with reality. I visited my ancestral village in China back in the early 90's back when it was largely pig farmers, and it sure as hell wasn't no Little House on the Prairie. In fact my strongest memories of the place were that it was crowded, dirty and the people seemed unhappy, same as it probably is right now. Difference is that at least with modernism/capitalism there is a chance for a better future much like what Britain, USA, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, etc went through rather than being stuck in a perpetual subsistence lifestyle.
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by red4ce View Post
OP's idyllic view of rural/farm life doesn't mesh with reality. I visited my ancestral village in China back in the early 90's back when it was largely pig farmers, and it sure as hell wasn't no Little House on the Prairie. In fact my strongest memories of the place were that it was crowded, dirty and the people seemed unhappy, same as it probably is right now. Difference is that at least with modernism/capitalism there is a chance for a better future much like what Britain, USA, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, etc went through rather than being stuck in a perpetual subsistence lifestyle.
Capitalism and modernism aren't synonymous. Say what you want about Mao but he did wonders as far as modernizing China.
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:26 PM
 
Location: Jersey
2,301 posts, read 3,402,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red4ce View Post
OP's idyllic view of rural/farm life doesn't mesh with reality. I visited my ancestral village in China back in the early 90's back when it was largely pig farmers, and it sure as hell wasn't no Little House on the Prairie. In fact my strongest memories of the place were that it was crowded, dirty and the people seemed unhappy, same as it probably is right now. Difference is that at least with modernism/capitalism there is a chance for a better future much like what Britain, USA, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, etc went through rather than being stuck in a perpetual subsistence lifestyle.
It's sorta the other way around at my ancestral villages in India. People seemed rather content when I visited them back as a kid back in the 90s. Nowadays, the folks who stuck around(or were stuck there rather) seem quite miserable. It's probably because they themselves trapped in a stagnate life while ppl in the cities prosper. I think a lot of them are just waiting for urban encroachment to creep in so they can cash in their land for top rupee.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:52 PM
 
6,730 posts, read 6,621,256 times
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Originally Posted by TylerJAX View Post
It's sorta the other way around at my ancestral villages in India. People seemed rather content when I visited them back as a kid back in the 90s. Nowadays, the folks who stuck around(or were stuck there rather) seem quite miserable. It's probably because they themselves trapped in a stagnate life while ppl in the cities prosper. I think a lot of them are just waiting for urban encroachment to creep in so they can cash in their land for top rupee.
When I was a child in China, my family were relatively poor (according to the standards of today) but I do feel my parents and I were quite happy.

At that time, buying a color TV or a refrigerator can be a huge event and brought great pleasure to the family. People were much closer to each other than today. Sometimes neighbors visited during lunch time to borrow some soy sauce. And they could invite you in the evening because they just purchased a watermelon to share.
My parents did not feel much peer pressure and spent a lot of time with me.

Nowadays China is fully capitalized and people live under a much higher level of pressure.

However I was raised in a city. I am sure many peasants of China were not really happy at that time.
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