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The Atlantic: Better Schools Won’t Fix America

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Replies to: The Atlantic: Better Schools Won’t Fix America

  • sorghumsorghum 3495 replies109 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,604 Senior Member
    Everything from China is made exactly to the buyer specification. They can make any level of quality that you will pay for.
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3320 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,332 Senior Member
    The key is to get skilled immigrants who add value , pay more in taxes then they consume in government services, and start businesses. Their children also tend to be great assets. It has nothing to do with where they are from as long as they assimilate. What is terrible is losing a recent Masters or Ph.D. candidate in a marketable field to other countries because we would not offer them residency and work permits.
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  • sorghumsorghum 3495 replies109 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,604 Senior Member
    Chinese worker standards are abysmal and it’s an environmental catastrophe.

    They are a perfect example of govt control of economic output and industry leading to real income inequality. Try being middle class there.

    Well, I live, teach, research and own and operate a factory in China, and my experience is nothing like yours. I think you are very out of date with your impressions.


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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76615 replies666 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,281 Senior Member
    The key is to get skilled immigrants who add value , pay more in taxes then they consume in government services, and start businesses. Their children also tend to be great assets. It has nothing to do with where they are from as long as they assimilate. What is terrible is losing a recent Masters or Ph.D. candidate in a marketable field to other countries because we would not offer them residency and work permits.

    Or because they are held under suspicion because of their national origin and contacts with those where they immigrated from?
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-06-13/the-u-s-is-purging-chinese-americans-from-top-cancer-research
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1069 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,097 Senior Member
    ^History does seem to repeat itself. We apparently didn't learn the lesson from what happened to Chinese-American scientist Qian Xuesen in the 1950s.
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3320 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,332 Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus , do you think that Chinese IP theft is a myth?
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  • barronsbarrons 23031 replies1951 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 24,982 Senior Member
    The Qian Xuesen case was very complex. Quite possible he was a communist and a spy or at least a threat.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5036 replies66 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,102 Senior Member
    edited June 15
    @sorghum.

    Your pleasant living arrangements are purely anecdotal in such a large country. It’s vastness is staggering.

    But here are but two of countless research articles - and remember we are not taking about a government known for transparency. It’s probably much worse.

    The per capital income of the average Chinese citizen compared to party members and government elite (including joint venture billionaires and Uber wealthy) is not comparable to us worker standards.

    If we leave the obvious worker and income disparity issues aside.

    Here’s the but a glimpse into some of the issues. It’s just not a comparison between countries and environmental stewardship and oversight.
    And unless 2013 to 2018 is what would be regarded as ancient history, I stand by my statement 100 percent.


    China ‘environment census’ reveals 50% rise in pollution sources

    “Ministry says country has 9m sources of pollution, with factories breaking emissions rules the big problem”

    The Guardian -UK
    Lily Kuo in Hong Kong
    Fri 30 Mar 2018 21.50 EDT

    Another article....deforestation, early death, rivers unfit for human contact, very bad water and the global carbon coal polluter among other things.

    “China’s mounting environmental crisis is endangering the pace of its economic growth and threatening the legitimacy of the ruling party.

    Backgrounder by Eleanor Albert and Beina Xu
    Last updated January 18, 2016”

    “China’s environmental crisis is one of the most pressing challenges to emerge from the country’s rapid industrialization.

    China is the world’s largest source of carbon emissions, and the air quality of many of its major cities fails to meet international health standards.

    Life expectancy north of the Huai River is 5.5 years lower than in the south due to air pollution (life expectancy in China is 75.3 years, according to 2013 UN figures).

    Severe water contamination and scarcity have compounded land deterioration.

    Environmental degradation threatens to undermine the country’s growth and exhausts public patience with the pace of reform.


    with reports from late 2015 implying that it consumed up to 17 percent more coal than previously reported.

    In January 2013, Beijing experienced a prolonged bout of smog so severe that citizens dubbed it an “airpocalypse”; the concentration of hazardous particles was forty times the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization (WHO).

    In December 2015, Beijing issued red alerts for severe pollution—the first since the emergency alert system was established. The municipal government closed schools, limited road traffic, halted outdoor construction, and paused factory manufacturing.

    At least 80 percent of China’s 367 cities with real-time air quality monitoring failed to meet national small-particle pollution standards during the first three quarters of 2015, according to a Greenpeace East Asia report.

    In December 2015, the Asian Development Bank approved a $300 million loan to help China address the capital region’s choking smog.


    Industry along China’s major water sources has polluted water supplies: In 2014, groundwater supplies in more than 60 percent of major cities were categorized as “bad to very bad,” and more than a quarter of China’s key rivers are “unfit for human contact.” And lack of waste removal and proper processing has exacerbated problems.

    Combined with negligent farming practices, overgrazing, and the effects of climate change, the water crisis has turned much of China’s arable land into desert.

    About 1.05 million square miles of China’s landmass are undergoing desertification, affecting more than 400 million people, according to the deputy head of China’s State Forestry Administration.

    Water scarcity, pollution, and desertification are reducing China’s ability to sustain its industrial output and produce food and drinkable water for its large population”
    edited June 15
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  • sorghumsorghum 3495 replies109 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,604 Senior Member
    I didn't say anything about my "pleasant living conditions", and I travel extensively in China, mostly in rural areas. My opinions are derived from more than personal anecdote. I even read articles about China.

    Chinese lower level workers are usually literate, sober, hardworking and productive. The technical workers have good education and are not the unimaginative drones of US mythology.

    The middle class is thriving and expanding. There are great opportunities for young people to work hard and do well. The GINI coefficient of China and US, per CIA data, are almost identical.

    You can find an article about dreadful pollution in almost any country. On the ground, the situation in China is not nearly as bad as that article says. And yes 2013 was a long time ago in Chinese development. As you say, it's a big country, there are clean and dirty depending where you go.
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  • hebegebehebegebe 2657 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,694 Senior Member
    @MWolf
    You could have saved yourself a lot of time if you noted a key word in the post you were responding to:
    What is terrible is losing a recent Masters or Ph.D. candidate in a marketable field
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3320 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,332 Senior Member
    edited June 16
    @MWolf , nice family story. Too bad we are a century past the roaring '20's. We have plenty of our own unskilled citizens to train, we certainly don't need to import more as unskilled jobs are being replaced by automation. Unskilled immigrants , in general, don't create new economic growth - they do the opposite and are a net loss after taxes are considered. That wasn't the case in the 1920's - we didn't have food stamps, public housing, Medicaid and the rest of the expensive social safety net. The 1920's had lot of unskilled jobs too.

    Skilled workers are the opposite, they are an immediate net positive, and as you correctly identify can be in a wide variety of useful fields.
    edited June 16
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5036 replies66 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,102 Senior Member
    edited June 16
    @sorghum I was only adding some context through the understanding of the inequality of income and environmental standards, comparatively.

    If one could adopt a broader view of the issues before denouncing our system as fatally flawed and embracing failed and terrible systems for the average citizen.

    We’ve been around 243 years. China is one of the cradles of civilization and still hasn’t figured it all out. My hope is as we look to our own weaknesses in the USA in the broader context than wholesale condemnation we often see today.

    The fact that we can even criticize our government and systems openly and freely is a luxury the Chinese to not share.

    If you could post me to any research and articles about the strength and health of Chinese human rights, free speech, fair treatment of government dissidents, wonderful labor practices and environmental stewardship, in a broad sense, and comparable to the USA, I am open minded to this information.

    And 2013 is only five years ago. But the information extends into 2015 and 2016 and even 2018, in the info I posted. And it wasn’t the only material.


    Also the emerging middle class is fraction of total population and not a middle class anyone in the USA would recognize as such.


    “Around 500 million people, or 40 percent of the population within China, survive on $5.50 per day or less.”

    Feb 24, 2018

    That’s $2000 a year!!

    Median Income is 10k vs 40k in us

    The “middle class in China is defined by their government sources as $7250 to upper middle class as $60,000.

    This was only 4 percent of the population but has grown. It’s still a tiny fraction

    50 percent of all working Americans make more per year than the upper end of the small Chinese middle class.

    Why do so many wealthy Chinese want to get visa to the USA. How many Americans are lining up to relocate there forever ?

    This doesn’t take into account the vast rural regions with incredible poverty versus the enormous wealth of the industrial and capital cities.

    If we want to be honest about China.

    It’s a repressive, autocratic and self interested regime. It’s stayed in power through the use of brute force, imprisonment, militarization and unequal educational opportunities.

    Manipulation of their currency and worker safety standards as well.

    The wholesale slaughter of millions of people under mao, the cultural revolution, the ongoing silencing and jailing of dissidents, the defacto focus on male children, the utter lack of concern of the provincial and rural population. How about we thow in a little censorship, social media control and content manipulation. Running over people with tanks and Hong Kong unrest. Why are the children and students there so afraid of standing trial on the mainland? The criminal justice system is an arm of the state. That’s why.

    Yes they are an economic marvel, the country has wonderful geography and beautiful, kind people.

    As an economic model. I want nothing to do with their system or methods.
    edited June 16
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  • MWolfMWolf 1231 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,239 Senior Member
    @TooOld4School In the beginning of the 20th century they said exactly the same thing: "too bad that we no longer need all of that unskilled labor for our farms, we're modern now, we need skilled factory workers". Most of the jobs that need to be filled in the USA are NOT skilled jobs, or at least not the jobs for the type of skills that you seem to think would make the USA a better place.

    If the USA did not lack so many unskilled workers, there would not be so many unregistered non-citizens working in these jobs. There is a lack of people working in the professions like electricians, carpentry, welding. There are people lacking in entry level tech jobs.

    There are more jobs at the low-skilled and entry level positions that need filling than skilled positions and positions of manager and higher.
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3320 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,332 Senior Member
    Education isn't the sole state and local cost either. You have housing, health care, transportation, infrastructure, etc. etc. Someone has to pay for those costs, and those are current local taxpayers , which reduces their opportunity - and that of their children - by reducing their net income. In addition, the K-12 system is often degraded by larger class sizes and children who require greater than average resources.

    If you look at the U6 figures and the percentage of the population working, there are plenty of Americans available to fulfill unskilled jobs. We could create guest worker program for areas with actual shortages. Wages will need to rise a bit, but that would also result in lower safety net costs. That's a net plus for the worker, and also for the taxpayer.

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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26597 replies174 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,771 Senior Member
    ^^excellent hebegelbe.

    Another way to view the pbs report is, 'Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.' (Mark Twain, among others)
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  • yucca10yucca10 1161 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,196 Senior Member
    Don't forget that many Americans who are on paper available to fill unskilled jobs actually have physical and mental health issues, including drug addiction, learning disabilities, issues with work discipline, attention, etc. I happen to know from work that in some areas there is a huge need for people who can learn skilled blue-collar jobs, but the apprenticeship programs can't get enough qualified applicants.
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