College students should take stock
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.