China's Invisible Crisis: How a Growing Urban-Rural Divide Could Sink the World's Second-Largest Economy

Basic. Mar. 2019. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9781541644823. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781541644830. POL SCI
OrangeReviewStarRozelle (economics, Stanford Univ.;$SPACE$From Marx and Mao to the Market) and writer and researcher Johnson expose a serious problem that could derail China's economic growth: the lack of educational attainment by the rural population. On the whole, China's urban minority is doing well. However, the majority of the population is rural and most do not have a high school education. The dramatic economic growth of previous decades was dependent on cheap labor. The cost of labor is rising now as more people are retiring than entering the workforce. Factories are already shutting down and relocating. Taiwan, South Korea, and other countries faced similar situations in years past, but their early investment in universal education enabled their workforces to make the transition to skilled labor. The authors convincingly argue that China has so far failed to make the necessary educational investments. However, they are hopeful that disaster can be averted if the government makes reforms quickly in rural education, health care, childcare, and more.
VERDICT A thought-provoking read that is essential for those interested in China's current affairs. For a look at China's current political challenges, see Carl Minzner's End of an Era.

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