A political time bomb looms for China and Xi as their economy's tanking and the young can't find jobs. Factoid ... The Communist Party started with the young back in the day, a most disquieting fact for Xi to contemplate as people world-wide are slowing down on buying stuff, something proving to be financially toxic to a country totally dependent on society's continued buying of stuff in order to maintain the status quo.
In August, the Chinese government released a shocking piece of data: A record 21.3 percent of Chinese citizens between the ages of 16 and 24 in cities were unemployed. It promptly decided to suspend future publication of its urban youth unemployment rate. The current data is bad enough; it’s about the same youth unemployment rate across the Middle East on the eve of the Arab Spring.
The Chinese Communist Party knows very well that young, educated and unemployed people concentrated in big cities have the capacity to challenge authority. After all, that is how their own party started. For decades, the party-state’s legitimacy depended on economic growth and improving living standards that are now in jeopardy. Instead of meeting the needs of frustrated youth by generating new jobs and opportunities, the aging leadership has doubled down on authoritarian repression as its primary policy response to a worsening economic crisis.
This isn’t the first time the C.C.P. has had to contend with urban unemployment. For more than 70 years now, the problem has bubbled up only to be contained by either a political crackdown or relieved by favorable economic developments.
This time may be different due to climate change, a rather large aspect of reality promising to become an existential event of truly biblical proportions.
To be continued ...