Will China solve the problem of unemployment by reviving street trading?

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The idea to release to the streets millions of street vendors began to gain popularity in may. The Prime Minister of China Li Keqiang is the second most important official after the President, XI Jinping, praised Chengdu for overnight creation of 100 thousand jobs at the expense of tens of thousands of street stalls. They usually sell food, fresh vegetables, clothes and toys. Lee called it “old, but simple solution to the looming crisis in employment“.

The government should make more efforts to create new jobs, “breaking stereotypes,” said Lee.

“In China, a workforce of 900 million people. Without jobs this is 900 million mouths that need to feed. Jobs 900 million pairs of hands can create great wealth”.

His statement Whether made in a stressful time for the second largest economy in the world. From January to March, China’s GDP fell for the first time in decades. The unemployment rate has also deteriorated since the beginning of the pandemic coronavirus.

According to unofficial data, up to 80 million people were left without work since the beginning of spring

In this case, before the start of the pandemic, the authorities said that they need to create about 11 million new jobs every year to provide permanent employment.

However, the response to Whether the rhetoric in the Chinese state media was hard.

“The influx of street vendors in major cities will be “uncivilized”, says state broadcaster CCTV.

The channel criticized the idea, not to mention the Prime Minister, as a “return on several decades ago.”

In turn, the Beijing daily newspaper, the official publication of the city government, has published several articles in which trade street tent served as a “noisy, confusing and can tarnish the image of the city and the image of the nation.”

Expectations of high technologies

Idea sellers, flooding the street, high-tech cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen, has caused controversy in China. Mostly because Beijing has spent years in the development of the country’s image as a leading world superpower. The policy of President XI has pushed the country to compete with the United States for influence — with the cost in the billions of dollars in future technology.

“Street Hawking is that si does not like. After all, it tarnishes the image of a successful and beautiful China which he loves to show,” said Professor Steve Tsang, Director of China Institute SOAS the School of Oriental and African studies, University of London.

He XI in recent weeks has reiterated its commitment to high-tech solutions to the economic problems of China.

“Efforts should be made to promote innovation in science and technology and accelerate the development of new strategic industries,” said si in may at a meeting with political advisers, according to the state broadcaster CGTN.

The harsh reality

However, Xiaobo Liu, Professor of political science at Barnard College’s Ann Whitney Olin believes that If the idea has merit. China has set a target to eliminate poverty by the end of this year. And street trading, according to the Professor, will give people, especially those on the poverty line, “to find a way to survive.”

China’s response to the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 began major investments in roads, airports and high-speed rail line. But this time, this strategy may not work.

“In many aspects, even measured per capita, China has achieved world-leading status” in the field of infrastructure mentioned earlier in his report , Zhu Ning, Professor of Finance at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. — So his need for infrastructure has changed in comparison with 2008″.

Tang min, counselor of the Chinese government, said recently that street Hawking will not only create jobs, but also solve the problem of overcrowding in the context of the ongoing pandemic.

“But it can’t replace a “normal” economy — what you can sell or buy on the streets, very limited, said Tang. — The government can not let it grow freely — it should be regulated as we continue to experiment and explore this option.”

“Trying to solve the pressing problems through a realistic approach,” said Willy Lam, adjunct Professor of the research Center of China at Hong Kong University.

According to him, though

approach street vendors is not perfect, a better alternative for creating large number of jobs in a short period of time may not be

Beijing regions not decree

Heated discussions of the pros and cons of street trading are mainly in the largest cities. But in the less prosperous regions, government quietly promoted the idea. Lanzhou, capital of northwestern Gansu province, last week announced plans to set up about 11 thousand tents for street trading. It is planned that this will create at least 300 thousand jobs.

Changchun, capital of northeastern Jilin province, also promotes this idea. In early June, the head of the Communist party of the province visited the street food stalls in Changchun and praised the business for a “low barrier of entry” for people who just want to find a job.

“Street stalls do not actually disappear completely,’ said Lam, a Professor at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. — Most likely we will again see a flourishing street trade in Chinese cities and provinces. At least until that time, unemployment remains the main problem of China.”

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