Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Another difference between China and the rest of the world

From Evan Osnos’ new book Age of Ambition, quoting the work of Yingiang Zhang and Tor Eriksson:

They found that in other developing countries, parents' education was the most decisive factor in determining how much a child would earn someday. But in China, the decisive factor was "parental connections”…Writing in 2010, the authors ranked "urban China among the least socially mobile places in the world."

This is another piece of what I previously referred to as China’s under appreciation for “anonymous exchange”, the idea that who  you know is even more important there than in the West.

Technology will fix some of this, as people discover the value of online reputation. Of course, your parents’ connections matter, but would they matter as much as getting a whole pile of five-star reviews from strangers?