chapter  2
16 Pages

The Chinese Dream and the precarity plateau

Why industrial workers are looking to entrepreneurship
ByBrandon Sommer

This chapter discusses an unlikely group of would-be entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of the Chinese Dream – industrial workers in Guangdong. It explains the late arrival of entrepreneurship to the Chinese economy and describing how it has surpassed waged work as a particularly desired type of work in China. The chapter also discusses what precariousness means for industrial workers in Guangdong and describes the context in which workers are turning to entrepreneurialism. It describes the type of entrepreneurship that is being created in Guangdong for factory workers and its implications for precarity. The chapter argues that workers are being pushed into entrepreneurship, a process that especially affects older workers, for two main reasons: institutional instability and ineffective market mechanisms. It also argues that many workers are pulled into entrepreneurship in attempts to ease persistent precarity, the plateau, which workers may feel hopelessly unable to alleviate because market mechanisms are not doing enough.