Happy Labor Day!

Reuters reported yesterday that 0.1 percent of children in Shanghai — or one in 1,000 surveyed — want to grow up to be “common workers.” The story notes that while being a common worker used to be the ideal of the communist movement, values in China have changed since Deng Xiaoping proclaimed that “to be rich is glorious.”

Newly rich Chinese are expected to spend the holiday, a time to celebrate the international labor movement, opening their wallets in far-flung destinations, reaping the rewards of higher paying jobs in the professions and financial sector.

My question is: Who is that one kid in 1,000 who wants to be a common laborer? And by “common laborer” I mean the guys using pick axes to dig a hole to the sewer line in my neighborhood, the mine workers who disappear in coal mine collapses on a regular basis, the construction workers climbing up scaffolding 15 stories high without ropes, sometimes without shoes.

There’s absolutely no sense in wanting to be a common worker in China. People do it out of necessity, not desire. I can’t even imagine the children of common workers wanting to grow up to be common workers.

So that one child, does he really want to be a common worker? I imagine his parents are making him spend the holiday memorizing Marx while his friends are lounging on a beach in Hainan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.