May 30, 2007
The danwei: still alive and kicking
We often think of the socialist work unit (particularly government agencies) as a relic of the past, populated by has-beens, never-weres, and won't-bes, with the best and the brightest streaming into jobs in the new and dynamic private sector. But in fact, the state sector in China still holds considerable appeal for bright young people. This is good news and bad news, I suppose: given the huge role of the state in society and the economy, it's good to have talented people there. But it does seem a shame to have all that talent engaged solely in regulating and not in producing. (I do not, by the way, advocate abolishing the regulatory role of government, in China or anywhere else. In some areas, such as food and drug safety, clearly the system is too weak, not too strong.)
For the Washington Post article that inspired this post, click here.
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