Col­lege stu­dents should take stock

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LI YANG in Bei­jing liyang@chi­

Thirty-one per­cent of col­lege stu­dents open stock mar­ket ac­counts and 26 per­cent of them in­vest more than 50,000 yuan ($8,300), ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by Xin­hua News Agency, which also found that many of those stu­dents view the mar­ket as gam­bling.

In the past two months, the stock mar­ket in China has sky­rock­eted from be­low 2,000 to more than 5,000 points. Col­lege stu­dents are surely among the new in­vestors.

Ac­cord­ing to Xin­hua, those col­lege stu­dents think China’s stock mar­ket is a risky gam­ble, but be­lieve the gov­ern­ment will con­trol the risks even if there are ob­vi­ous bub­bles.

Some of those stu­dents stare at their smart­phone screens dur­ing classes to fol­low the changes in the mar­ket. And while they have the right to in­vest in the mar­ket with the ap­proval of their par­ents, the fo­cus should be on their stud­ies, their main job on cam­pus.

Since late last year, the gov­ern­ment has ad­vo­cated that col­lege stu­dents cre­ate their own busi­ness and be­come self-em­ployed, an at­tempt to ease the job mar­ket pres­sure brought by the eco­nomic slow­down. The ed­u­ca­tion author­ity even al­lows stu­dents to sus­pend their ed­u­ca­tion to start their own busi­ness.

The “new nor­mal” (slower and sus­tain­able growth) of the Chi­nese econ­omy has a di­rect in­flu­ence on the men­tal­ity of the stu­dents. Given the ex­or­bi­tant hous­ing prices and the dif­fi­culty in find­ing a job, it is nat­u­ral that their at­ten­tion is di­verted from classes to the spec­u­la­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties in the stock mar­ket.

In­stead of ex­ces­sively em­pha­siz­ing the im­por­tance of in­no­va­tion and self-made busi­ness he­roes to the na­tion, the author­ity needs to first of all re­form the higher ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem to pro­duce the grad­u­ates needed for the trans­form­ing econ­omy in the coun­try.

Af­ter the fi­nan­cial cri­sis hap­pened in 2008, there was a strong voice urg­ing the coun­try to learn from Ger­many and fo­cus on the re­search and devel­op­ment of man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors. At that time, the author­ity called for pro­duc­ing more en­gi­neers and tech­ni­cians.

Yet, the suc­cess of some e-com­merce gi­ants in China af­ter 2008 makes the In­ter­net an in­spi­ra­tion for the author­ity while look­ing for so­lu­tions to up­grade the coun­try’s huge man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries. The In­ter­net tal­ents are more likely to cre­ate their own busi­ness, as the gov­ern­ment ad­vo­cates, than tech­ni­cians or en­gi­neers.

It is wor­ri­some that the In­ter­net bub­ble in China makes many young peo­ple equate cre­at­ing one’s busi­ness with open­ing an on­line shop.

They do not see how the leg­endary busi­ness­men of the Sil­i­con Val­ley achieved their suc­cess, and the solid tech­no­log­i­cal foun­da­tion of Ger­many’s In­dus­try 4.0 strat­egy.

Be­sides, the job-hunt­ing and em­ploy­ment process for work­ing as civil ser­vants or in Sta­te­owned en­ter­prises need to be more trans­par­ent and fair. If the gov­ern­ment wants to turn China into an in­no­va­tive coun­try, the author­ity needs to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that makes the stu­dents more fo­cused on learn­ing knowl­edge than mak­ing money.

The widen­ing in­come gap in Chi­nese so­ci­ety is also an im­por­tant is­sue ag­gra­vat­ing young peo­ple’s long­ing for quick suc­cess. When they can­not see clearly a pre­dictable fu­ture of climb­ing so­cial lad­ders through their own ef­forts, they will grab ev­ery op­por­tu­nity for quick suc­cess, which is to a large ex­tent de­fined by the pos­ses­sion and ac­cu­mu­la­tion of ma­te­rial wealth and power.

The tax sys­tem and power su­per­vi­sion in China are far from the re­quire­ments of ef­fec­tively ad­just­ing na­tional wealth dis­tri­bu­tion to avoid power abuses. Living in such an en­vi­ron­ment, it is very dif­fi­cult for young peo­ple to de­velop ra­tio­nal views on the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and so­cial obligations be­hind money and power.

The spec­u­la­tors’ gain from the ab­nor­mal sharp rise of hous­ing prices and stock mar­ket poses a sharp con­trast to low wages of hon­est work­ers. This is a di­rect re­flec­tion of the dis­tor­tion of Chi­nese econ­omy, and in th­ese cir­cum­stances, few peo­ple would be­lieve in dili­gence and in­tel­li­gence

The Chi­nese stock mar­ket and the fi­nan­cial sec­tors, be­cause of their im­ma­tu­rity and loop­holes, have not ef­fec­tively ful­filled their du­ties of sup­port­ing the devel­op­ment of real econ­omy, but be­come a hot­bed for peo­ple dreaming of reap­ing with­out plow­ing.

It is good for the young peo­ple to know macro-econ­omy and the op­er­a­tion of fi­nan­cial sec­tors through in­vest­ing in a healthy stock mar­ket. But an ill mar­ket only trans­forms them from a learner to a gam­bler.

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