We hear a lot in the news, about the lack of job opportunities for college graduates. Nowhere is the competition as fierce for a new graduate as it is in China. This is part of China development.This is part of that underlying hum of fervor in China that is right below the surface. A hum that can quickly turn in to a roar. Breakneck development and competition creates a social anxiety. People don’t have time to relax or at least collect their thoughts. Youths think their solution is a nose in a book 24/7, because in their minds, there is nothing else they can do. “The more I study, the more that increases my chances at getting a better job”. Folks hunger for the safety and confirmed perks that only a government job can bring.

“Work hard and you’ll get ahead” is largely unheard of in China. People who make it are because they knew the right people. Their parents knew the right people or are the right people. They had good connections. They were in the right place at the right time. But seldom if ever does hard work and working smart fit in to the equation.

Although the playing field, for various reasons, is no longer what it was in the USA, compared to China’s playing field, it looks like the levelest and straightest game board on the planet. There is still a large enough support system and open opportunity for a diligent person in the States to get ahead.

Mixed with the humungous population, the lack of jobs, the corruption, the fact that nothing is transparent, facts don’t flow freely, it’s hard to self educate, and in order to achieve the slightest advancement up the ladder, the guy ahead of you is going to require you “scratch his back”, the Chinese go-getter has great odds plaguing his journey to success.

In my ten years of living in China, from my perception, it went from a laid-back, content place to almost immediately rushing full-speed towards the materialistic development you see today. Who can blame them. They see the other developed countries with cars, they want cars. They’ve made the West’s junk forever, it’s time for their junk. But the problem, is, the soft skills haven’t been laid. Back to the transparency thing, corruption, their educational system of pumping facts over and over but never learning application, and I could go on and on…

Daily in my own work, the mountain of individuals who are not able to freely-think and consider and create is a large struggle. But in a large sense, that’s why my company exists. People in the States don’t realize how much is around them from a free-thinking and creativity standpoint until they’ve dealt consecutively with a place that lacks that ability.

I read a good article earlier this week from the English Edition of the Epoch Times, that sparked me up to write this post. Here’s an interesting chunk from the piece and this blog is largely about importing and manufacturing, I thought it was relevant.

In this industrial chain, the processing–manufacturing link is the step in the labor process that creates 10 percent of the product’s value, and the other 6 links, vital in the value-creating process, create the remaining 90 percent.

Lang takes a Barbie doll as an example. A Barbie doll’s retail price is nearly $10 at Walmart stores in the United States. In this international industry chain, the 6 links owned by enterprises outside of China are responsible for $9 of that price, while the hard link, which is China’s manufacturing link, can only take credit for $1.

What is true of the Barbie doll applies to much of China’s economic output. Global economic competition is fierce, and the most profitable links in the chain of production are often not controlled by Chinese enterprises.

Notice how much of the money, benefit, glory of the project doesn’t stay in China. When the kids graduate from the illustrious university, they are faced with opportunities of going to work in these factories. Nobody is hoping to hit the jackpot of success from working in the sales office of a toy factory.

One thing the HK economist from that article left out is, and this is Jacob’s take, is that whole society from start to finish isn’t encouraging the soft-skills side of life, thus the inability of the individual to provide value to an organization. Nose-in-Book trumps life application, creativity and critical thinking. These kids are not only over-educated, but they don’t have the first clue in how to apply the knowledge they just crammed in their heads.

Any importer or buyer who deals with China and who is constantly surprised at quality, control and safety problems, must be living in their own world. The folks working in those low-paying, low-motivating, dead-end factories have a bit more on their mind.