Beauty Index：An Outlook of the Northeast
Lost & Found’s Direct Translation of Article 美女越多的地方经济越繁荣 originally published by 经济常识丁是钉
The more number of beautiful girls the more prosperity in local economics
Dongbei has grown old. Whether it is on the street or on the bus, the number of elderly tends to be more than the young. Unless it is an important holidays, you will rarely see beautiful young girls roaming around, because most of them has gone to a more prosperous city.
The better the economy of the city, the higher number of beautiful girls and vice versa. This is a simple and direct method to measure economic prosperity; it can be called the “Gross Beauty Index” or “Beauty Economics”.
Dongbei’s aging is represented by its population and the data demonstrate the problem as intuitive and cruel. In 2015, the average age of presented population in the Dongbei area was 43 while the national average was 38, which is equivalent to the projected national average in year 2027. This has caused a heavy burden to the pension and social security system. In 2015 the ratio of enterprise pension and insurance dependency ratio (the ratio of insured workers to the number of receiving pension) was 1.55, well below the national average of 2.88. Among them, Liaoning was at 1.79, Jilin 1.53, Heilongjiang 1.33, the lowest in China. Early urban constructions in Northeast China which caused the increase of its aging population is one of the factors, yet the more important reason is that the large proportion of young people who chose to escape from the Northeast. Not only will the recent grads studying outside of the northeast not come back, even those who have been working in the northeast of will also leave in large flocks.
The characteristic of the outflow population from the northeast has a distinct difference: in Sichuan, Henan and other traditional population outflow provinces, the migrant workers are typically farmers, but from the northeast, the outflow populations are generally highly educated, highly skilled and high-quality personnel. Dongbei’s doctors, teachers, business managers and technical personnel has moved to economically advanced areas. The loss of these high quality populations not only affects the development of the northeast economic vitality and stamina, it even leads to the overall civilization to degradation, the level of difficulty and cost of its repair will be enormous.
The economic downturn in the Northeast led to the outflow of the population, and the outflow of the population will only make it worse
Since the beginning of China’s open reform, in addition to Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin these three Municipalities directly under the Central Government, Dongbei had the highest degree of urbanization. In 1994, out of the 16 sub provincial cities named by the central government, the northeast had 4 seats, and the capital of the 3 provinces were impressively included while more than half of the national capital cities did not make the list of sub provincial cities. The importance of the Northeast in the country was evident. At the same time, the existence of large numbers of state-owned enterprises has brought to the Northeast the largest quantity of professional industrial workers groups. Harbin, Shenyang, Changchun, Dalian were once the dream cities to make people yearn for. But these have become the proud and bitter history. Nowadays, the northeast has become an unpopular and frigid place for young people.
The root of Dongbei’s aging lies with its conception and attitude. The official standard phenomenon in the three provinces of the northeast is very noticeable. Too many officials are main reasons of the challenge. There is a joke says, in the Southern China, if one were to throw a brick and hits 10 people, 9 of them will be business owners. If a brick were thrown in the northeast and hits 10 people, 9 of them will be government officials”. Although this piece is somewhat exaggerated, but still vividly illustrates the real reason for the rigid system of northeast china.
According to the Central Inspection Team’s briefing, just by Heilongjiang province alone, the super distributions of officials are at 10,000 people. This is merely an official report, by digging deeper, you will find that due to the outflow of the population, the ratio of super distribution of officials will soar. In those areas of serious population outflow, if the population was originally at 80,000 – 90,000 and dropped to 30,000 – 40,000 at a county unit, but due to the lack of change in the Administration level, the number of officials remains. In addition, the proportion of state-owned enterprises in the northeast are of the highest in the country, a large number of state-owned enterprises executives are also seen as officials, due to the lack of constraints, its super distribution problems are greater than government departments. Such a high proportion of officials are maintaining their own status, interests and image, and has the resources and the distribution of interests in the decisive voice, the phenomena has formed a large and complex relationship circle of this interests-sharing community. Without a strong external force to intervene, it is impossible for any self transformation.
From the “official culture” derived the “circle culture” in the northeast is also very popular. The preference of working with close acquaintances is a Chinese unique conditions, and in the northeast is even more prominent, no matter what, the northeast people will habitually ask “who do you know”, almost to the point where no acquaintances， no anything. In the northeast, how a person is dressed is a sign of status and identity, but also a symbol of social circle. “Wearing a mink coat on the public bus” is known as Heilongjiang’s own eccentricity, many of the women, rich or poor, ought to buy a mink coat because they feel inferior to others if they don’t wear one.
“Official culture” and “circle culture” has seriously damaged the social fairness, which is incompatible with the concept of equality among the youth. “Buying and selling of official seats” is a common phenomenon in different regions, but in the Northeast it has been developed to the sale of jobs. As the private sectors continues to fall, the local people generally believe that their future is secured only by entering the institution of state owned enterprises, that’s considered a iron rice bowl. Therefore, the sale of a variety of job opportunities has become a business. Different organization of different jobs, according to their future income and social status, the price tag are different. In general, a position will be sold in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands in range. In some small and medium-sized cities, looking for work is almost entirely by the “daddy phenomenon,” or competition of family background; all the popular positions are basically taken by children of rich families or relatives of the monopoly. Young people, who do not have upper class relations, even if they to spend money to buy a position will slowly, find that although they can buy a job, but they cannot buy equal treatment and opportunities. Most of their colleagues are stronger relationships, patrons and background. Any mention of distribution of duty, pay and other benefits are strictly relationship based, the performance of their work can only be served as a reference.
Leader extremism of Dongbei’s development
The scarcity of job opportunities leads to the prevalence of unspoken rules, while the pursuits of freedom of young people are greatly suppressed. Whereas the parents sought the young people to enter the government institutions or state-owned enterprises as the golden opportunity, most of them feel as if they had been put into a cage. And because of these jobs are extremely rare and expensive, for most people, the chance of quitting and find a similar job opportunities is very low. Therefore, the inevitable result is to obey the leadership and supervisor, otherwise not only diminishes the opportunities for promotion and raise, they could be “put on small shoes” (backstabbed), excluded and suppressed.
Freedom is the premise of equality, voting with feet is more fundamental than the right to vote by hand, but also a more valuable right. In Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, if one is not in love with the job he or she can find another job easily, so no one will produce dependency and fear of the boss, rather the management is more worried about the loss of outstanding staff. But at the popular companies of middle and small cities in the northeast, each time one employee leaves, the opportunity to make a fortune on the open slot opens. Unless one has a more powerful backer, few people dare to offend the leadership. Because even if the person is in the right and self-confident side, he or she rather not face the “win one battle, and lose the war” scenario. In these type of organizations, the unspoken rule could be worse than in the entertainment circle, just as ordinary people would not deliberately open their own privacy like a celebrity, and did not warrant many “amusement” attention from the media.
Within the small and medium-sized city of the northeast, there is a very interesting phenomenon, whether is a large or small restaurant, private dining rooms are often used, the guest lobby are very small, or simply not there. People are more willing to put themselves in a relatively hidden room, one is to avoid meeting other acquaintances and save the trouble to toast each other or paying their bill, and two is to evade the “ear” next door. In such a complex social acquaintances society, perhaps inadvertently, best to avoid offending anyone.
First, let alone the economic downturn and the little opportunity to make money, just under this kind of social atmosphere and culture, it is inevitable for people to feel depressed and unhappy. Therefore, those who have the ability and unable to endure the environment has gone to the big cities or developed coastal areas to find the growth space and opportunities. There are three type of people remains, the first is the high income and superior groups, such as officials or entrepreneurs; the second are those with less skills and courage, they dare not to take the risk; the third are those with great talent and audacity, but are stuck due to family burden.
Therefore, the northeast projects two entire different images of officialdom and civil society: the main tones of its civilians are decadent and disappointed, they feel that there is no money, no power, and can only rely on the little income to make a living. On the other hand, the officialdom atmosphere is high spirited; they feel by comparing to the past, the region has been developed very well. Even if there were some difficulties in the economic development, the country and its government will take care of it. If someone was to points out some of the shortcomings and problems of the region, it will be considered a “negative energy”, and it will be severely criticized, and even the friendship of will be “turned over”.
The “Northeast disease” has caught China and the world’s attention; many are keen to provide a cure. Recently, relevant departments have decided to grant a large amount of money to the northeast, a toll about 1 trillion and 600 billion RMB. Although the “northeast disease” is the presented by weak economic development, and what it seems to be a quick antidote was to increase the investment to relief its symptoms and revitalize the Northeast economy. But if the Northeast cultural environment remains unchanged, no matter how much money invested, it will only benefit the riches and no the poor.
After more than 30 years of the open door reform, China’s economy has been able to make the world shocked by creating the miracle, the most important thing was to liberate and develop the productive forces. The only way to allow the Chinese economy to release its huge potential is freedom. Where there is greater freedom, where you will be able to create the unexpected miracle.
Freedom is the most important factor in the development of Shenzhen.
Shenzhen’s development is one of the most convincing examples. 30 years ago, Shenzhen was just a small fishing village, facing a sudden influx of hundreds of thousands of people far beyond its local aboriginal population the government of Shenzhen had no ability to manage it. One word that corresponds to the lack of management is freedom. Tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of young people from all directions has rushed in for it. For those with personnel file problems, Shenzhen has re-established these files for them; for students who have moved from another province, Shenzhen government has certified their diploma and provides recognition of their qualifications. Freedom has given to those who dare to dream the limitless growth of space, HUAWEI, Vanke have grown from there to a world-class enterprises; Ren Zhengfei and Wang Shi have grown into a world-class entrepreneurs there. While the northeast of the “official standard” and the planned economy lacks the freedom factor for the market economy. And for the young people, what they love and advocates is also freedom. Money can’t buy freedom and nor can’t it create freedom. The way to create freedom is to reduce regulation, to reduce the premise of control is to cut institutions and officials in large scale, but this is also the most difficult problem. In the anti corruption and transformation of a large and powerful inertia of the bureaucracy, the latter task is clearly more difficult.
Mobility creates freedom, the stronger the mobility, the higher the degree of freedom. Harbin, Shenyang, Changchun and Dalian are the four sub provincial city has formed the Ha Long Economic Zone is within the northeast the highest degree of freedom and the most promising area. In addition to these places, will the government create a Shenzhen-like model as “enclaves”, with minimal regulation, to entrepreneurs in the most comfortable environment and maximizing freedom. With freedom, the development of the northeast economy will not be a lack of imagination.
Young people are the hope of the future, where many young people resides, where it will be full of vigor and life, where have the young people abandoned, where it will be deserted by history. For young people, especially for those who are innovative and have entrepreneurial talents, freedom and opportunity are the most valuable resources and also a luring attraction. When the cities of the Northeast spring up the red dresses, soon will the economy burst out its true vitality.