There’s a new documentary on YouTube on the extreme demographic shifts that have been happening in China over the past few decades. In short it’s about the how China became the world’s factory and how in many ways it’s now suffering from its own economic success now that wages are no longer nearly as cheap as they were even a decade ago and new competitors jump in to fill the demand at the bottom end. I’ve seen effects of this first hand in Vietnam over the past several months.

I love a well-made piece on China and it’s hard not to sympathize with and like the main character. The area I feel like the documentary could have done better though, is technology. Technological change offers a lot of risk to Chinese migrant workers (automation, robotics, etc) and it also offers a lot of promise—new opportunities, ways to repair the environmental damage brought by China’s rapid industrialization and things we can’t even see at present. I think that the effects of technology will ultimately overwhelm the longer-term predictions of the film, though it’s impossible to say whether the net effect will be a positive or not.

4/5, worth a watch.