China: Xi Jinping’s “Common Prosperity” and the reality of income inequality


Excerpts from:

The Diplomat

How Successful Was China’s Poverty Alleviation Drive?

China eliminated extreme poverty, a monumental achievement. But the root causes of poverty persist.
By Zhuoran Li September 06, 2021

Despite the tremendous achievements, the poverty elimination campaign failed to address the root cause of rural poverty: the underdeveloped rural human capital. Poor rural education has long plagued China. Research shows that 63 percent of rural students drop out before graduating from high school. Furthermore, the problem runs beyond schools; it includes malnutrition, health problems, and lack of early childhood development. Over half of rural babies in China face malnutrition and over half of rural children are developmentally stunted, with an IQ lower than 90, because of a lack of early childhood education. Forty percent of schoolchildren in rural China have intestinal worms, and over 30 percent of rural students have vision problems but do not have glasses. (For an in-depth discussion of rural poverty in China, read “Invisible China” by Scott Rozelle and Natalie Hell.)

This stunning failure in human capital development will have profoundly negative impacts on the future of China. Currently, about 70 percent of the Chinese labor force not only has no high school education but also lacks the potential for human capital development, as Rozelle and Hell note. These workers are only suitable for labor-intensive jobs, such as assembly line workers, and cannot be retrained for higher value-add jobs because of their lack of learning ability.







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