When blue becomes the new white – FT.com

English: China's with provinces numbered for u...

English: China’s with provinces numbered for use with tables of provinces. Regions are coloured: Orange = Northwest Purple = Southwest Yellow = South Central Cyan = East Green = North Blue = Northeast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an excellent article by Patti Waldmeir in Shanghai, published in the FT; it takes a critical look at the “Chinese Dream”. I would highly recommend reading this article. Check it out!

via When blue becomes the new white – FT.com.

I very much empathize with the story and have met taxi drivers in Los Angeles and Sydney with similar tales. Essentially, working class families stake their all on their children’s education. My story in LA was of a Russian taxi-driver who was proud that his daughter had become a doctor. The Sydney story was similar but about an Egyptian taxi driver from Cairo. However, both stories were pre-2008 and before the financial crash. Now students leave universities with huge debts and uncertain prospects for jobs; youth unemployment in Europe is a record high and is finally consuming policy-makers attention as a crisis.

Returning to the FT article, people in the West need to understand that despite China’s growth, it is even more competitive to get on the jobs ladder. I was in China last October and very much empathize with the article. Despite China being nominally a Communist country, it is incredibly competitive; sadly, it is not always a meritocracy and cronyism is widespread, especially getting a job in the Public Sector or one of China’s major corporations.

Sadly, the Chinese Dream is perhaps a bit like the American Dream at the moment; increasingly young people feel that they have been conned.

Any thoughts?

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Country-specific Recommendations 2013 – European Commission

Schengen Agreement

Schengen Agreement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an excellent report from the EC and well worth a read. Check it out!

Country-specific Recommendations 2013 – European Commission.

I have so far read the UK recommendations and they are fairly robust. Let me give you a taster from the report:

The UK faces the challenges of both unemployment and underemployment, especially among the young. Unemployment stood at 7.8 % at the beginning of 2013 and is expected to remain broadly flat through 2013 and 2014. Youth unemployment is much higher, at 20.7% and it has steadily increased since 2007, when it stood at 14.3%. The 2009-10 refers to the financial year which starts on 1 April and ends on 31 March  proportion of young people not in education, employment or training is 14.0 %. Private sector employment has grown strongly in the last year, given the slow GDP growth, but productivity and wage growth have been weak. The UK also has an oversupply of low-skilled workers for whom demand is falling. At the same time the UK has a shortage of workers with high-quality vocational and technical skills which contributes to a lack of external competitiveness. Despite some progress in recent years, a significant proportion of young people do not have the skills and qualifications they need to compete successfully in the labour market. The unemployment rate of low skilled 15-25 year olds is 37.2%, significantly above the EU average. Existing vocational education and training policy has been too focused on basic skills and level 2 qualifications, while the economy increasingly demands more advanced qualifications. While there have been efforts to improve the quality of apprenticeship programmes, further efforts are needed. In particular, the qualifications system remains very complex, which may negatively impact on businesses’ involvement in apprenticeship programmes. The UK could build on the current Youth Contract to implement a Youth Guarantee and address the problem of youth unemployment and those not in education, employment.

Personally, I relate to the comments on the skill shortage in the UK. For me, David Cameron’s Government has been fixated with austerity, without a serious strategy to rekindle growth. This week we have seen that much of Europe has moved on from austerity and is focusing upon stimulating growth; meanwhile, David Cameron and George Osborne continue to bury their heads in the sand. Perhaps, we should call them the “last austerians”? Any thoughts?

The legislative triangle of the European Union

The legislative triangle of the European Union (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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