Lying flat

This is a new popular phrase in China to describe a lifestyle or attitude of the youth. They opt for simple living with minimum consumption while taking low-paying odd jobs when necessary. They don’t date, plan to get married, have children, or buy a house because the financial burden is unbearable. Even if they can afford the down payment, they might have to work until death to pay off the mortgage.

The youth unemployment rate in China is at unprecedented 30% while the property prices are sky high. Many young people feel hopeless the first time in Chinese recent history since its economic reform four decades ago.

With the serious problem in the real estate industry, many developers can’t finish building projects and the banks started to force home buyers to pay the mortgage before they receive their homes. Those stores really scare young people away.

Many authorities in China accused youths who hold such views or lifestyles of being lazy. I personally believe that this is not an issue of certain individual being lazy but a societal problem. It is a different time now. They were forced to lie flat because of lack of hopes.

Again, it is all about timing. Which decade you were born make a big difference. Many youths in developed also feels that they might not be better off than their parents thanks to the growing income inequality and shrinking middle class.  A few decades ago, many can enter middle class without a college degree. These days, it is much unlikely. Natually, people suggested to increase college admission or build more colleges. Wait a minute. Take a look at China first. That is exactly what China did in the past 2 decades. Since Chinese are very keen on education, many universities or colleges were created. However, the competition among the college graduates naturally increased drastically. Many jobs demand post-graduate degree or ones from brand-name universities now simply because of ample supply. Many jobs do not even need a college degree. However, how can the employer screen out applicants easily?

Therefore, that is not a solution. Perhaps we can learn from Germany who has very well-developed trade school system with close cooperation with business and government. Youth employment is much lower there because the youth gain work experience during school years with programs similar to apprenticeship or co-op.

Published by Worthfy

Financial literacy and counselling

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