JPA331Y Jan 10th Notes

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23 Mar 2012
Migrant Workers: Internal Migrations in China
-economic development and rapid urba nization spured rapid migration in china.
-individuals searchin higher wages and jobs
-1/10th of 1.4 billion population migrant workers
-actual number of migrant workers is likely much higher than 1/10th of china's
population because many do not register themselves with relevant authority
-when migrants leave homestead, they are confronted with discrimination and long
streams of inequity
-household registrations systems: the hukou system. Despite reforms, the system
that is the hukou system still limits migrant workers to public services guaranteed to
urban people.
-migrant workers = floating population
-some scholars call it a caste-like system, segregating rural and urban populations
-migrant workers are typically young, below 40 years old, poorly educated, generally
healthy, highly mobile and heavily represented in many social service industries,
constructions, restaruents, low skill service industries basically.
-many get jobs through word-of-mouth
-they suffer social discrimination in the cities, seen as 2nd class citizens in their own
country, seen as ignorant, impoverish, dirty, etc.
-household registration system: migrants face major inequality in the ctities because
of this two-tier system, established in the 1950s. the Hukou system keeps people
tied to where they live, means if you born in village A, your hukou would be based on
that locality, it makes government services contingent of place of your hukou.
-urban residents are entitled to range of public goods and services including
education, health care, pension, etc.
-system being instituted in 1950s for number of reasons: traditionally for 3 purposes,
though some aren't relevant today:
1) for resource distribution, to assure economic livelihood of china's industrial worker,
the chinese provided non-agricultural hukou, granted urbans greater employment
opportunities (recall danwei system that gives grain subsidies, place to live for
urbans). In geenral to subsidize urban residents at expense of rural residents, and
one of means is to tie farmers to their lands so they can't move freely to other places,
that they engage in farming to feed urban population. This purpose has gradually
eroded due to economic reform. Resource distribution today is simply not as
important than 30 years ago.
2) migration control: hukou imposes strict control on migration. Rurual who wants to
permenantly move to urban, they have to seperately apply change of agricultural
status as well as place of residence. Everyone in china's got a hukou identity card
thing. Movement of labour was strictly control, this efectively limited upward social
mobility of rural people. Today, rural control has relaxed but still serves to control
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