Why the Chinese are more worthy than ever
Photo: Beijing Daily
The Chinese people today are more dignified than ever, and one of the important reasons is that we are not as poor as before.
I don’t remember how much Chinese nannies made in 1993, but their monthly salary was certainly very meager – I would say less than 100 yuan ($ 15.5). I went to Yugoslavia as a correspondent that year and met a young Chinese nanny working in the house of an American journalist. She was taken to Yugoslavia by the American journalist from China. She could earn up to $ 400 a month, which was way more than I was making. Including various grants, I was making $ 295 per month at the time. That year, I also learned in Greece that a Filipina maid’s monthly salary was around $ 300.
When the Iraq war broke out in 2003, I met many maids from South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Kuwait. They were earning around $ 300 per month. I also met a doctor from Dalian, in northeast China’s Liaoning Province. She demoted to work as a nurse in Kuwait with a salary of $ 1,000 a month, the average amount Chinese people who went to work abroad could earn at that time.
Being a nanny is not an easy job. Many of them have to leave their hometowns. Fortunately, today in Beijing, an ordinary domestic worker can earn around 5,000 yuan per month, while babysitters can earn 7,000 yuan, and midwives more than 10,000 yuan. The lowest monthly income for home services is almost $ 800. Of course, considering the price increase in China, the purchasing power of $ 800 to $ 1,000 is not as high as it used to be. People may not be convinced about the increase in their incomes, but from the point of view of the global labor market and resource distribution, the Chinese are now in a more advantageous position than ever before. . It is an important source for the collective self-esteem of the Chinese people.
Today, home service workers in China can earn as much as university teachers in Serbia when I was working there as a journalist. This offers ordinary Chinese citizens the opportunity to integrate into the global supply chain and enjoy high-quality and inexpensive products and services from all over the world. The value of Chinese labor is increasing. The Chinese who held middle-level jobs and earned an average income admired the outside world, even countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. But the situation has fundamentally changed and continues to change.
Of emblematic importance is the increase in nannies’ incomes. This shows that our society is gradually becoming more fair and egalitarian. When I was young there was a huge income gap between nannies in the countryside and people in big cities. But now home service workers can earn about half of the average white-collar income in Beijing. Raising the wages of home service workers is unfortunately a burden on middle class families living in cities, but it is the complicated process in which the gap between rural and urban areas and different regions is growing. gradually reduced through commodification.
In general, the Chinese lead moderately prosperous lives. And many towns and villages in the developed coastal regions have started to move towards a high level of modernization.
Of course, with increasing income, people have higher demands and more expenses, and environmental pressure is also increasing. Most families still feel that they are a long way from achieving “financial freedom”. I have interviewed many families all over the world and found that most of them are living on a tight budget. In other words, the life of ordinary families in rich countries was not as good as I thought, and ordinary people in poor countries did not live as poor as I thought.
For example, I visited the homes of several Japanese diplomats and journalists and got the impression that they were living quite normal lives. I also visited two ordinary families in Laos, one of the least developed countries in the world, but their situation was much better than I expected.
Countries must recall most of the currencies they issue. This is pretty much the process by which we make money and then spend it. Almost no ordinary person can live a very abundant life. But the differences lie in the quality of life, the homes people live in, and the standards for food, clothing, shelter and transportation. The money we earn can be recycled through different consumption channels. No matter where, ordinary families will have only a limited surplus, which means a limited sense of abundance.
However, the quality of life of Chinese people has steadily increased over the years. It is common for the Chinese to consume foreign products, including traveling abroad and sending their children to study abroad. Instead, it has become a part of the life of middle class families. The life of the Chinese has truly become “globalized”.
This is a fundamental change in the livelihoods of people in modern times, providing a new basis for our dignity and giving many people a larger stage in their lives. In the past, the life of most Chinese turned in small circles. But now even the most ordinary workers are working in cross-regional jobs or under the international division of labor. This means more potential career opportunities and collective levers to enhance the value of work, although as individuals we may not know them.
On this special day, China’s National Day, let us rejoice for our country. Our country is the outermost shield of our personal interests, as well as an unnoticed reminder of our personal interests. A diplomat I know said 10 years ago that China has a very long border, but what is gratifying is that the standard of living of people on the Chinese side of the border has exceeded that on the outside. . This trend will continue to strengthen.
There are still many gaps in our country, and we still have a long way to go in terms of modernization. When it comes to building social justice, many goals remain to be achieved, such as achieving common prosperity. We still have a lot of difficulties to overcome. But people are leading more and more dignified lives. It is a process that we advance in the midst of twists and turns while gradually accumulating the gains. When we look back, perhaps the most important thing is that we can see that there is a dynamic of continuous advancement. This applies to an individual, a company and a country.
The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. [email protected]