Die Arbeit in den "Sweatshops" wollen sich in China immer weniger Leute geben, berichtet die Washington Post. Die Ansprüche an Lohn und Arbeitsumgebung steigen langsam, was für ein wachsendes Wohlstandsgefühl spricht. Zudem arbeiten die Leute auch wieder lieber in der Landwirtschaft: In a country with a supposedly bottomless supply of labor, the Daojiong Hequn Plastic Processing factory has somehow hit bottom. The plant in southern China can no longer find enough young women willing to spend their hours bending over machinery slicing artificial hair for toy dolls bound for the United States. The $50 monthly pay is too little. The 14-hour days are too long. In China's burgeoning economy, there are better opportunities elsewhere. Throughout the southern province of Guangdong, whose factories produce nearly one-third of China's exports, and in other industrial areas along China's coast, labor is suddenly wanting -- particularly the 18- to 24-year-old women who have become the staple workers of China's export trade. According to a recent report from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, China's factories lack 2.8 million workers, 2 million alone in the prime manufacturing zone along the Pearl River Delta. It is not so much a labor shortage -- there are still tens of millions of peasants and former employees of the state-owned factories who need jobs -- as a mismatch between the cutthroat wage demands of the export trade and the rising expectations of Chinese workers. The government report blames the situation on poor working and living conditions, stagnant pay and chronic violations of China's labor regulations in the sprawling manufacturing towns that have based their growth on selling to the world market. Where once a paycheck, even under harsh conditions, was enough to entice tens of millions of people to leave their villages in China's interior and flock to factories on the coast, workers are beginning to turn their backs on the prospect of laboring in 100-degree heat, living in rat-infested dormitories and being cheated out of their earnings.
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