Two Op-Ed Assignments Essay
China’s Race and Raise
By the end of the year, the Chinese government will start discussing about raising its poverty line. From the current $152 annual income threshold, the new limit will be set at $186. For the Chinese people, this is good news. Yet there are facets to the issue that needs to be covered just as well.
Over 40 million Chinese are living in poverty today. This does not include the poor in urban areas, which account for over 20 million. Looking at it, the poverty population in the urban areas alone is as much as the total population of Australia in 2007. This is not a bit surprising with China’s population of 1.3 billion. When the poverty line is increased, the numbers will rise too. This means more Chinese being labeled as poor, and more subsidies and allowances for the government to shell out.
However, it is a much deserved move for the Chinese people. The global poverty line itself has been raised. Where before a-dollar-a-day is the poverty threshold, it is now up to $1.25. With prices of commodities on a steep climb everywhere, it is a rational thing to enact. Gas prices are fluctuating and food item prices are soaring. With citizens who can barely eat three decent meals in a day, housing, clothing, and education also become a problem. All of these are loopholes that the government needs to cover to satiate their poor constituents. This is not isolated in China. People in other countries are undergoing the same recession issues, and dancing the same tune for the dance with poverty.
The new poverty threshold proposed for China is still lower than the global norm. Yet it serves its purpose as China is still among the cheapest countries to live in. After the proposition is ratified, China will have to provide allowances, healthcare, free education, and job priorities to as much as 80 million of its citizens—double the number of the current poverty statistics. It should not pose a problem though, as China is among the fastest growing countries in the world today. Of course, it became evident in how they handled the Beijing Olympics, but more than this China is proving itself as a superpower in economics. In the past several years, Chinese corporations and even small-playing companies have lead world trades in many different industries—this despite repetitive claims from competition of poor quality and health issues related to their products.
Indeed China is growing, and must take all the steps necessary to lift their citizens with them in their growth. Other countries must follow suit. It is by empowering their people that governments can be empowered. It is by creating and implementing plans that governments can see how well (or how bad) their country is going—and where their people are leading. Indeed it is difficult to create a tiger economy without considering making tigers out of citizens. China’s journey to its new world order where they lead in industries and businesses all over the world are clamoring for their corporations should equally address the journey of its people to empowerment, self-realization, and goal orientation.
The fact be faced, many Chinese corporations neglect the fact that their employees are their gems. Poor employees work to be able to eat, with their quality of life unquestioned. This quality of life, on the other hand, is the only thing that can lift up a person, Chinese or not. A person may receive free education, free food, free health coverage, and many other freebies from the government, but without the goal to improve and the desire to be better all of the government’s efforts are put to vain.
To structure it more properly, it goes to say that China needs to look at their people beyond responsibility. Upon raising the poverty line, then it is rational to raise the basic salary. It is important to look at the working conditions of the people. It is equally important to wake the people up and encourage them to discover and use their potential. Governments cannot make their citizens instant millionaires by doing so, but they can help them think about the possibility.
Rediscovering China through Ancient Inventions
It cannot be denied that the Chinese are the most inventive and creative of all. Many clever devices in the market today are brought about by the creative Chinese geniuses. Some are inspired by them, some created by them, and some imitated by them. On top of all these, the Chinese remains undeterred by rising costs—their products remain drop-dead cheaper than counterparts from other countries. The bottom line, then, is that China is filled with intellect and most are waiting to be discovered—or rediscovered.
In his recent visit to an ancient Chinese inventions exhibit, Standing Committee member of China’s Committee Political Bureau Li Changchun asserted that China must once again rediscover its ancient inventions and make them known to the world.
China is in fact a leading invention nation. A Chinese invented paper. Another is responsible for the first ever magnetic compass. China also invented fireworks and gunpowder (which justifies their extravagant and lavish, albeit edited, fireworks display in the Beijing Olympics). Tea, tea devices, chopsticks, paper money, umbrellas, chess, and kites among others are also Chinese inventions.
It could be running in their blood, or it could be plain tradition, but it is fact that the Chinese were historically great inventors. Li’s comments were more than welcome. It should have been a given that China highlights how they are historically leaders of imagination—way before the first typewriter was invented (whoever really invented it first). China should give priority to its beginnings for the world to appreciate its future more.
The bad thing about the Chinese’ inventiveness and creativity is their uncanny ability to copy anything—including patented and copyrighted products. Of course, this is not to say that the Chinese are bad people. This is only to point out that because of their ingenuity, they are able to provide the market with enough counterfeit at much lower price (than counterfeits from other countries) and the same quality (as compared to counterfeits in other countries). While this is good for competition, it has proven itself bad for the legal economy which is faced with low demand, high supplies, and risk of losses.
It is now a call for the role of the real intellectual. With a crowd as intelligent as the Chinese are, research should be made by the learned as to how they can enrich their original inventions. The intellectuals in the business field should improve patenting activities; start the groundwork for eliminating illegal production of counterfeits; and unifying the labor force with the capitalists. With a growth in authentic inventions and pulverization of the illegal market, the Chinese will be known for what they are worth—inventive and creative.
This is easier said than done. The illegal market not only in China but throughout the world is a flourishing industry generating million-dollar incomes to its proponents. With this much money at stake, it is impossible for its players to just suddenly have a change of heart. It is even more difficult for the government to monitor and enact. Yet something needs to be done. The Chinese do not deserve to be called copycats, much worse cheaters. History and news talk about their feats and products. They deserve to be dubbed for these positive attributes. But the labeling shall stop when the copying stops too. It is the way of the world. When you lose some, you gain some. Yet looking at how the things are going, it is a long road ahead.
The intellect of the Chinese as a whole is being smeared with the portion of its population who are using their creativity to earn in the expense of others. With a rich history of original inventions, China should know better. Researchers should dig deeper and marketers should publicize more. In empowering these creations, more and more people from the current generation will create respect for originality and respect for copyright.
Streamlining how the inventors can create, patent, market, and sell as opposed to how companies can copy and sell will greatly improve the Chinese economy and the world market. Currently, China is playing the part of the intellectual hitting the wrong keys. There is much more that the world can get from them. There is much more that they can definitely get for themselves.