The [Ninja Turtles] henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

- xkcd

Monday, June 27, 2005

Everybody Loves China

Alright, I'm going to keep on the China love because it is interesting and it is something that I have, at least, experienced and so I figure I can talk about it without looking like a complete fool/tool. To badly paraphrase Plato, everybody thinks they can be a politician and I'm no different.

Without further ado, more China talk.

I'm continuing in my attempts to understand Pundita's take on China. It is a rather pointless quest, by and large, but it provides me some level of focus and so I'll stick with it. Plus, it got me a comment and they're still novel enough that I'll pander to anything that might get me more responses. But I said I was going to get to substance...

Her latest post is a reference to another speech and both make some interesting points. Plus, there's a post about rural democracy and technology and I'd really like to go on about that.

The speech by Eric T Miller (bio; scroll halfway down, sorry) presents a number of facts about China and concludes that China and India are major players. One somewhat arbitrary point he proposes is that China will be undercutting US and Japanese automakers within the next 10 years. That seems pretty reasonable to me. In fact, at this point, I wouldn't put any money in any auto industry until they get themselves sorted out. Another point he makes is that China still has not sorted out their power supply problems. Between the large population and exponentially increasing use of electricity it is hard for China to keep up. The need for electricity has resulted in projects like the Three Gorges Dam. Talking about it the other day at work, I compared it to the TVA work during the depression. While the analogy is flawed, I think there are some important comparisons:
1) Trying to bootstrap up a significant portion of the country/population
2) Demonstrating that the prosperity/growth of the country is intended for all, not just the elite
3) Questionable decisions along the energy/environmental balance are exacerbated through sheer scale
4) Providing jobs for people that otherwise don't have any

China has a very public campaign to "improve the West" part of China. Some of this is vital to any long-term hope of retaining Xinjiang and Tibet. Some of it is to reinforce support throughout the country and prevent wholesale abandonment of these key rural areas.

The other point from the speech is the question of protectionism and currency valuations. Here, I'll agree that there are important decisions to be made but admit I'm not the best person to make them. How this plays out seems terribly important to any chance of the American economy staying afloat. However, the byzantine connections between China and US economically will hopefully manage to preserve some shred of sanity.

Seeing as how Pundita apparently agrees with most of Mr. Miller's points, this again causes me to wonder about her views of China as some intense dragon. China knows it has enough problems of its own to sort out for the moment. Everyone I've ever met in China seems to agree upon that. Opposed to that, China does consider itself the elder brother of all of Asia (at least Confucianist Asia) and does believe it should get the respect that + its monster economy deserve. The Chinese have historically been a terrifically introverted people. From its name of "Middle Kingdom" to actually going to a trouble of building a 2000mi (that's a bald guess) wall, they have never rarely gone looking to conquer the world and instead prefer to just be the center of attention. This is a crucial difference. I don't think it can be overlooked. It plays out is a strong desire by the Chinese to be viewed as #1 but I don't know that it leads to this desire to spread tyranny across the globe. I just don't know that they think like that. After all, Mao was still busily trying to make himself the next emperor and prove his calligraphy was impressive.

Alas, I am cut short by real life and the need to leave work. I will try and continue this tomorrow. Maybe it's a start. At least it is some words on the screen.

1 Comments:

At 8/08/2005 12:29 PM, Anonymous Chuckles said...

I can see the relation between the TVA and Hoover Dam and China's Three Gorges Dam. Some are saying (no reference, someone said it over pie, that they heard it on NPR or etc) that the Hoover Dam needs to come down due the surrounding rock weakening due to erosion. The Limestone or sandstone is eroding and the entire dam could wash downriver in 50 or so years. This is all hearsay, but it reminds me of the Three Gorges situation. Apparently scientists (geologists or hydrologists) or whoever have said that the TG Dam will silt up in a few years and collapse. This is some serious shit as there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people living within the flood zone who would likely be killed by the immense wave of mud and water. The TVA built lots of little dams. These were faster to build and building a few large dams on the major rivers would have disrupted travel, commerce and been far riskier during flood season. I have read (in River Town: Two years on the Yangtze) that three dams were an overlooked or ignored option that were far more viable than the TG Dam. But that's communism for you. Grandiose use of concrete is the hallmark of any half-decent, half-marxist regime. I could tell you about the gian canal that was attempted in Romania and never completed, but then most people would prefer to sail the rather flat and useful river known as the Danube.

 

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