2007-06-26

"Take Advantage Of Employment Discrimination"

China Law Blog has a very interesting post: Take Advantage Of "China's Rampant Employment Discrimination"

Well, I would say, "Take Advantage Of Employment Discrimination", anywhere in this world that there is discrimination. Though I also agree with CLB that it is indeed rampant in China -- just look at the unisex restaurants and unisex factory floors (even though one could argue that there is cost reduction due to easy management for unisex factory, i doubt if the benefit outweighs the cost).

There are, however, a couple points to add
  • CLB said, 'Another discrimination in China is against "villagers" without a degree from one of China's top two or three universities. Another opportunity.' -- I do not quite agree. First, we see the same brand premium in US (Ivy Leage and Stanford) and UK (Oxbridge) and the average quality from the premium brands are indeed higher. Second, it is true that there are 'arbitrage' opportunity from the "villager" graduates, but this is not without costs, i.e., more time to select the right candidate due to lower average success rate. But I do agree with CLB, if you spot one, grab him! (Digression: the beauty of the Chinese language is that there was no gender in the 3rd person - "彼or 他", until the turn of last century during May-4 movement when "它/她" were created, plus the ridiculous 牛也 (the god belongs to the gender of cow!). Anyway, we used to enjoy the absence of stupid political correctness in terms of "him/her" or "s/he" or "chairperson". If you understand 禅(Zen in Japanese) or heard about the story of 3 monks bumped into a nude girl, you would understand what I mean.)
  • Yes, there is arbitrage if one does not discriminate, because the cost of recruitment is lower (one finds the right candidate quicker, statistically). However, if one is going to pay the same amount for others, one is not exploiting the arbitrage fully. To exploit the arbitrage fully one would only have to pay a small premium over the market rate, which is usually still lower than what the "true" value of the candidate is. This does solve one major problem, i.e., the case when some are unemployed due to discrimination
  • I know what I said above in politically incorrect, but that is the reality of this world. However, without facing the reality one cannot really address the problem. We need to recognize that, even if one would still partially discriminate these candidates, the important thing is that we realize the TRUE value of these people. Once this is realized, one would expect more employers will join the arbitrage competition, and gradually bid up the price. The point of inflexion is when the underpivileged receives more than one job offer. To make this happen we need more employers who are willing to just pay a very small premium (or even no premium) over the current (under-rated) market price. Until, eventually or asymptotically, when there is no more arbitrage opportunity. Then the CLB mission will be accomplished.
  • Therefore, even for those employer who are still paying a discount to the discriminated (but just the smallest premium over the market rate), we should encourage them and encourage more employers to follow suit. Because that is the first step toward the ultimate goal, and one must go through such first step in the long process of transition.
  • The fundamentalist would criticize those who pay a small (but not enough) premium for not doing enough. I need to warn them, they are effectively hurting the discriminated they claim to protect.

Again, this applies not just to China. It applies to any other country, developed or developing. It is actually the theme of one of my old post -- China vs India. And again, the situation in China, albeit may not be the worst in this world (there are many countries that are worse), is not an excuse. It is for China's own good if this problem gets solved, even if it is partially. The larger the extent this partial solution is, the more competitive China as a nation will become.

1 comment:

China Law Blog said...

Nice analysis. I pretty much agree with you.