Opportunity in the post-Mao era — like all opportunity — has been a question of being in the right place at the right time. Below, I have translated a blog post, lamenting the fact that even if Shenzhen is the right place, it is no longer the right time; the opportunities are going, going, gone and if what remains are wage labor and education, even they are not enough for the poor.
Of note, the author uses the expression “poor second generation (穷二代)”, the direct opposite of the “rich second generation (富二代)”. More interestingly, he refers to “second generation farmers (农二代)”, as if the transition from farmer to urban resident was a natural progression. However, there have been generations of Chinese farmers — in fact, this is one definition of traditional Chinese culture. What then, we might wonder, is it about Shenzhen that gives rise to the expectation that each generation must do economically better than the last?
Shenzhen: Unfortunate Generation 80, Unhappy Workers, and the Hopeless Poor Second Generation
First of all, let me explain that my title refers to me. Perhaps you, who are reading this heading are one of the lucky Generation 80, the happy office workers. Or, maybe you’re one of the poor second generation or a second generation farmer but aren’t hopeless. If so, congratulations. My opinion isn’t going to be yours, its only representative of my thoughts.
Why is Generation 80 unfortunate? Continue reading