China Shakes the World by James Kynge – Michael Sheridan

From Sunday Times (link):

Early on in James Kynge’s sweeping, fluent essay on how China is changing the world, he compares the price for which its people work to the era before the Industrial Revolution in Britain. More than 700m Chinese get by, he says, on less than $2 (¬£1.14) a day.

Westerners are well aware that this creates a pool of labour willing to work at “pre-industrial” wages. Few, though, understand what this really means for us. Kynge explains. Chinese peasants are streaming into factories where the speed of production is thousands of times faster than in any dark satanic mills. Here is the most frightening thing, however: their wages, adjusted for value, are about half those of a manual worker in Chicago in the late 1850s. The result, as Kynge points out, is a “compression of developmental time” without equal in economic history.

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