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The China Superpower Hoax

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Posted on Sep 23, 2010
AP / Oded Balilty

By Steven Hill

China must have the best public relations maestros in the world. How else would a country with a lower per capita income than Iran, Mexico and Kazakhstan, one of the worst environmental records of any major nation, endemic corruption, jails stuffed with dissenters, and a dictatorship, besides, be hailed by so many as the next global superpower?

Certainly China is big—1.3 billion people big, a fifth of the global population. As Forbes’ columnist John Lee has written, China has long been the place for the world’s biggest anything: the Great Wall, the 2008 Olympics, Tiananmen Square, the South China Mall in Dongguan, dams, consumption of cement and production of automobiles; most recently, China even had the world’s biggest traffic jam—an incredible 60 miles long—which lasted a month and during which drivers were stuck in their cars for days at a time.

The world has never see anything like mega-nations the size of China (or India for that matter), and no one even knows if populations of this magnitude ultimately are sustainable. China’s voracious need to supply its population and avoid the social explosions that have plagued its history has made it one of the world’s largest consumers of natural resources, especially timber and energy, extracted from places like Africa, Southeast Asia and South America. With such large appetites, China has the ability to drive global markets, and, consequently, has become the new frontier where “get rich quick” investors and Western businesses go panning for gold by speculating in some hot Chinese start-up.

Unfortunately, the hype ignores a starker reality—that China is barely holding it together. Contrarian voices like Hu Ping, the chief editor of Beijing Spring, a pro-human rights and democracy journal, try to humanize the conventional wisdom of economic statistics and facts that obscure reality. “With China portrayed in the news every day as an economic and political powerhouse, the rest of the world, at least those parts that treasure freedom and peace, should pay attention to the real China,” says Hu.

The Paradox of China

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To understand the “real” China, it is necessary to see it through the double lens of its paradoxical condition as both a major economy and a still-developing country. China is filled with contradictions and serious challenges. When I visited China in August and September of 2008, after the Olympics, the country that I saw, whether in Shanghai, Beijing or the rural areas, was a long, long way from being a global leader in any meaningful sense. Two hundred million people out of a working population of nearly 800 million are migrants, chafing at their lowly status and rotten wages. Inequality is rampant. Returning from the rural areas—where the vast majority of Chinese still live—to cities is like a form of time travel, moving from feudal conditions where plowing is still done by water buffalo to a land of impressively jutting skyscrapers. Corruption is epidemic, whether in banks, the legal system or the political leadership at national, provincial and local levels, causing an estimated annual economic loss of approximately 15 percent of GDP, according to economist Hu Angang.

Even China’s much-touted economic power has been misunderstood. Recently it was announced around the world that China had surpassed Japan to become the second-largest national economy. But compared to the United States and Europe, China is still an economic mini-me. Europe’s gross domestic product is $17.5 trillion, according to the latest IMF figures, while the U.S. figure is $14.8 trillion and China’s is $5.4 trillion (by Europe, I mean the EU 27 plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland).

Beyond economic output, more than three-fifths of China’s overall exports and nearly all its high-tech exports are made by non-Chinese, foreign companies. Foreign companies take advantage of low Chinese wages to reprocess imports of semi-manufactured goods that are then shipped to Europe and the U.S. China remains, in essence, a subcontractor to the West, says Will Hutton, British political analyst and author of an influential book on China, “The Writing on the Wall.” Despite China’s export success, there are few great Chinese brands or companies. China needs to build them, says Hutton, but doing that in a one-party authoritarian state, where the party second-guesses business strategy for ideological and political ends, is impossible.”

Because of China’s climate of corruption and authoritarian secrecy, even the volume of industrial output has been questioned. Some doubt China’s numbers and official reports. Investment guru James Chanos, who rose to prominence when he predicted the Enron meltdown (and pocketed a billion dollars shorting Enron stock), is shorting China now.

Says Chanos, “China is cooking its books. State-run companies are buying fleets of cars and storing them in parking lots and warehouses” to pump up state-mandated production figures. As evidence of this, experts point out that while car sales have been rising by a huge 20 percent per month, auto fuel usage seems to be rising by only 3-5 percent per month. Chanos also says China is plagued by an ominously growing real estate bubble in high-rise buildings, offices and condos. Much of China’s high growth originally came from decades-long heavy investment in infrastructure, but increasingly it has been coming from construction. Chanos estimates that 50 percent to 60 percent of China’s GDP now comes from alarming levels of overbuilding, virtually none of which is affordable to the average Chinese. “This is not affordable housing for the middle class; this is high-end condos in major urban areas and high-end office buildings, which no one is buying,” says Chanos.


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Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 29, 2010 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

The baton of the hardest working chattel award has passed to China and the poor people of the east… we should be happy to now have to use our minds instead of our backs…

Report this

By Red Menace, September 28, 2010 at 12:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hill’s attack on the “Hoax” of China’s ascendence is blunted somewhat by his admiration for Europe’s financial and regulatory bigwigs. In fact, Europe is a wasteland of unimaginative, scared children..a lot like our own Democratic Party. China, despite it’s dirty factories and poverty is growing to ascendence as follows: 1)the major supplier of goods to US consumers, 2) China is developing new satellite launch vehicles to take a bigger share of the commercial satellite-launch business, 3) China is stockpiling high-grade gold, 4) they are buying-up billions in US treasuries each year. If my rough math is right, we are paying China $200-million each DAY in interest alone on the treasury debt we owe them, 4) there are large numbers of scientists and engineers graduating in China each year (#?), 5)the Chinese are vastly expanding their sphere of influence, occupying, for example, the coastal oilfields of Cambodia and dominating that country’s business and economic decisions, 6) Chinese coastal defenses along the straits facing Taiwan are such that neither Taiwan nor the US would be able to resist a Chinese takeover of the island. Anti-shipping missiles in large numbers, some capable of mach-4 approach to target have made any thought of sending a naval fleet to defend Taiwan absurd. Such ships would be eliminated less than one hour after hostilities broke out. Adding to this, China’s purchase of Russian Flanker fighter aircraft and their own similar versions, air battles over the sea would be unfortunate. 7) it appears India and China, old adversaries, may be planning a joint lunar colonization project. They have the money. We don’t, and sorry Mr. Hill, neither does Europe. In sum, China, with all of its failings and faults, is assuming the mantle we have voluntarily thrown away.

Report this
Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 27, 2010 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

Here’s a picture of some funny Chinese money circa 1930.

Q: Who’s currency does it closely resemble?

A: The propaganda machine now pits the Chinese people against the Amerikans against the Chinese… same ole illusion and distraction. 

Central banks have these behemoths tied tightly… comingled and intermarried for some time now. 

These money changers and fortune managers have the cloak of disguise around the statute of ‘Liberty’ ( or pick your image of justice and all that jazz n apple pie )... and they have put a masquerading mask onto Liberty, further tricking freedom finders, our ancestors and forefathers who also came here seeking fortune or fortitude from unjust taxes and unjust treatment… only to find out they’ve surrendered their sovereignty for Roman citizenship…. they’ve walked into the very trap they thought they’d escaped.

Royalty and Bankers own the governments by-way of debt, and are leveraged against the public by holding secured debts, and these governments and individuals now own the corporations, who own or ‘lease / option’ the high-end chattel and pedigree some of them, and ‘rent-to-discard’ the low-end chattel.

But hey, still better than anywhere else, huh?

Our voices have been limited to sound bites, and those sound bites go to the highest bidder.. so lets start a bank role folks so we may broadcast our [ message of competence ]... or work on broader avenues of broadcast.

Report this
Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 27, 2010 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Yeah Maani, nothing like good ole history lessons to bring clarity.

Report this
Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

China was taken over by this country’s fascist money printing dictators not shortly after England’s dominance wavered in the region.  Ever notice their old currency?  It was modeled after the federal reserve note we had up until recently, before the big pictures, numbers and red colors… it is so obvious people. 

Learn real history.  Know your history, world history and forget about the history you were spoon fed in school.

Any hoots, China can be very powerful if they catch the wave of innovation and quickly drop-kick oil-driven cars and go electric… then you’ll see a nice market race to $10k brand new electric cars between the both sides of the Pacific AND Atlantic, how fun and way to spur us out of the current fiscal black hole!!!

http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/Lifestyle/2010/09/23/15452346.html

Report this

By balkas, September 26, 2010 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

But, then, a contradiction appears: if chinese govt or ruling class do fascistics;
such as giving “rotten” wages, imprisoning people, practicing corruption,etc.,how
does it differ in such practices from american ones.

Don’t jailed people in US break a diktat [a kind of ‘lawful’ lawlessness] just like the
jailed people do in china?
Or is chinese diktats or lawlessness s’mwhow a priori wrong and US a priori right? 

Even if it is completely, largely, or partly true what hill writes, china still did not
use WMD, nor killed innocent women,children outside its empirical borders like
US. 
Like tsarist russia, it to did not exterminate indigenous people like US had. But,
then, what to expect from a MSM columnist but lies!

Report this

By truedigger3, September 25, 2010 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

Re: By PatrickHenry, September 25 at 7:28 pm

PatrickHenry wrote:

TD3,
RThere is an ever growing market for Chinese made products in the 3rd world and China has been making inroads in building those markets. 

The U.S. is not the Chinese only market and with our unemployment we are buying less Chinese made products.  Soon they will refuse accepting our debased currency.”
____________________________________________________

Patrick,

Neither the Chinese internal market nor the 3rd world market can compensate for the loss of the huge U.S. market even with high unemployment in the U.S.
The Chinese hold about 1 TRILLION DOLLARS in U.S. treasury notes and bonds nominated in Dollars, so it is in their utmost interest to help the U.S. economy and help preserve the value of the dollar and not debase it.

Report this

By Maani, September 25, 2010 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

Tom Friedman (whom I know many of you like even less than brussel sprouts…LOL) begs to differ:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/opinion/26friedman.html?ref=opinion&pagewanted=print

Peace.

Report this

By Justin Weleski, September 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment

An incredibly misleading article.  A few points to consider;

1) Whether China’s GDP per capita is $5,000 or $50,000, the country still
consumes vast amounts of resources.  If I remember correctly, China’s oil
consumption has now surpassed America’s.  This means that China will quickly
become (and has quickly become) a major strategic player on the global stage
in direction competition with the United States.

2) China’s system of governance permits it to make decisions quickly and
respond to opportunities and threats in an equally quick manner.  Case in
point; while the United States invests a puny sum in green energy production
and development (due to Congressional gridlock), China has already invested
tens of billions in this area and has become a global leader in the manufacture
of solar panels, etc.  This could give it a distinct advantage over other nations
as we transition into a period of petroleum scarcity.

3) Pollution goes hand in hand with industrialization.  Yes, portions of China are
severely polluted at the present time, but large sections of America, England,
France, etc. were severely polluted as recently as a few decades ago (remember
the burning rivers and lakes?).  Pollution follows production, and production
has migrated to China.  Growth tends to rectify these problems in time,
however (see: environmental Kuznet’s curve).

4) And what in the world are you talking about when you mention that Japan is
“proof that high growth is not necessary to create the highest living standards
in the world.”?  Remember the 1970s?  Remember the 1980s?  Japan used to
grow at incredible rate before its highly publicized “Lost Decade.”  It is because
Japan grew so quickly that its population achieved a standard of living which no
longer requires unending GDP growth.

5) And finally, why would you compare the entirety of Europe to China so as to
diminish China’s relative size and economic strength?  Europe is far from united
and, when compared on a one-to-one basis, China crushes practically every
European nation.

Like I said; an incredibly misleading article.  You tend to assume your
conclusion and then omit any facts that may rebut or weaken your argument. 
Poorly done.

Report this
PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, September 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

TD3,

There is an ever growing market for Chinese made products in the 3rd world and China has been making inroads in building those markets. 

The U.S. is not the Chinese only market and with our unemployment we are buying less Chinese made products.  Soon they will refuse accepting our debased currency.

Report this

By truedigger3, September 25, 2010 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

Re: By PatrickHenry, September 25 at 11:54 am

PatrickHenry wrote:
All China has to do is boycott the U.S. and we would be brought to our knees without firing a shot.

Free trade in lieu of fair trade has crippled this nation.
—————————————————————-
PatrickHenry,

If China boycott the U.S., then thousands upon thousands of the manufacturing plants that were built by U.S. corporations to build products, mostly, for export to the U.S. market, will be idled or shut down, resulting in tens and tens of millions of unemployed Chinese workers with the resulting severe economic hardship and social unrest in China.
China’s rulers will never dare to take such selfdestructive step and there is no reason for it.
Free trade in lieu of fair trade, has destroyed the working class of this country, but it benefitted the investors/corporate class immensely.
Many of the working class are supporters of the Tea party and many were “Reagan Democrats” who were and are calling for more tax cuts for the investors/corporate class!!!  GO FIGURE!!!????

Report this

By zebrewskie, September 25, 2010 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PatrickHenry said,

“All China has to do is boycott the U.S. and we would
be brought to our knees without firing a shot.

Free trade in lieu of fair trade has crippled this
nation.”

I agree with your second statement, but I doubt the
first one.  Minus a US consumer, China does not yet
have the consumer market to soak up all the crap she
makes.  China recognizes she needs to prop up her
consumer market, she’s making moves to do so, but
this will realistically take closer to 15 years to
achieve; so in the meantime, she needs the EU and US
to continue buying her goods. (Earlier in the year,
during the European financial crisis, FT had a story
about China reviewing its Euro holdings with the
possible intent of dumping them.  This made no sense,
and if anything, China was actually buying Euros when
the currency was in the gutter in hopes of propping
it up.  Europe is after all her largest export
market.)

If anything, China’s actually in deeper trouble than
she appears.  One of the problems China’s run into as
of late is she can’t grow her economy through exports
like she used to, so she’s become increasingly
reliant on construction to maintain GDP numbers. 
This has resulted in a lot empty properties.  There’s
an estimated 64.5 million apartments and condos that
have been purchased, but are sitting empty: nobody’s
living in them, they’re not being rented out; many of
them are vacant space with walls, meaning they’re
absent of plumbing, toilets, sinks, etc.  They’re
purchased for speculative purposes in the hopes they
can be flipped for a quick buck.  A major problem is
real estate has shot to the moon and is out of the
price range of the average Chinese. 

All one has to do is think back to the Miami condo or
Las Vegas real markets of last decade for reference
as to where this will head.

Report this
PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, September 25, 2010 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

All China has to do is boycott the U.S. and we would be brought to our knees without firing a shot.

Free trade in lieu of fair trade has crippled this nation.

Report this

By bachu, September 25, 2010 at 1:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If China is so niggardly – how come they won more gold than the US in the Olympics?

Report this

By cruxpuppy, September 24, 2010 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

Very fine article.

The investor class loves cheap labor and the incentive that mass poverty gives a labor force. The spectacle is so beguiling that they rhapsodize about the economic miracle of China and it emergence as a new super power. They always see the world through a keyhole of self-interest. Jim Rogers is a fine example of this self-delusion.

It is refreshing to have a sober assessment that takes into consideration the non-financial aspects. China looks good only on a balance sheet.

Steven Hill is too generous, too optimistic. China’s embrace of capitalism with “Chinese characteristics” is a move as ultimately disastrous as Mao’s Great Leap Forward. China is actually in its death throes, a manic phase that precedes the chaos of national dissolution. Its cohesion derives from the iron-fisted control of the PLA, without which the soft-bottomed Party cadres would not last two weeks.

Report this

By truedigger3, September 24, 2010 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

Re:By LOLz, September 24 at 7:16 pm

China is much worse than the USA regarding pollution.
There is no Green Energy there,  and there wil be none in the foreseeable future. THEY CONSUME MOSTLY COAL for their energy needs.!!!
What Social Security crisis in the USA. There is no crisis and the SS is safe and sound. Don’t believe the fear and hsyteria peddlers who want any execuse to cut benefits and delay retirement and give the savings as tax cuts for the super wealthy.!

Report this

By LOLz, September 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

The reason why I see America having a difficult time competing against China is because….

America for the past 100 years have oriented their entire infrastructure system and daily way of life on oil dependent products.

China, has a head start with an authoritarian government which is able to mobilize massive amounts of resources into developing a renewable energy economy.

China, developing from a newer base than United States, has the government muscle to plow through with very big green energy investment and implementation changes.

So long term, America is probably going to have a lot of pain transitioning it’s heavy oil dependent economy the way that a rising China can do.

Transitioning into a green economy = $$$$ and China is awashed with it right now, and US is having lots of fiscal problems (not to mention Stimulus package, 2 expensive wars, Health care reform, and Social security crisis, obsoleting infrastructure, etc…)

Report this

By zebrewskie, September 24, 2010 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

Stephen Hill,

Not a bad article.  China’s real estate situation is SCARY: there’s an estimated sixty-some million apartments and condos in China that have been purchased, but are sitting empty.  Nobody’s living in them, they’re not being rented out; many of them are simply empty space with walls - they don’t have plumbing, toilets, appliances, etc.  A lot of these are purchased for purely speculative purposes.  Anyway, real estate has shot through the roof, and the truth is the prices are out of reach for the average Chinese.

If you or anyone has a strong interest on the matter, I’d highly recommend looking for articles written by Andy Xie.  Andy is a sharp economist who has yet to be wrong about a bubble he’s called; he even wrote a thesis in the ‘80s, while pursuing his PhD., that proclaimed Japan’s growth economy was, in fact, a bubble.  He’s started sounding the horn on China’s real estate market in ‘09 (I believe in August), and believes it may crash around 2012.

I also have some questions about China’s infrastructure: I don’t know how prevalent it is, but I’ve read articles about brand new roads and bridges in China developing structural problems a mere year after opening.  One blog entry I read, by a guy living in China, told about a new bridge developing cracks a year after it opened.  He said the company that built it “repaired” the bridge by filling the cracks with glue.

Report this
tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, September 24, 2010 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

(sorry if this is a duplicate, apparently all login
windows are not created equal.)

I would be careful about parroting the globalists’
views on population control and the need for it.

Besides being wrong, and its dangerous. There is no
evidence that the crowding of people is anything else
but intentional on the part of the global elite.
Ethnic cleansing, exile, moving mass amounts of
people, like in Iraq, as refugees… these are all
actions by oppressors, to redraw land boundaries, to
“cleanse” areas politically, and so on. Gaza.

To the contrary, many believe large groups of
populations thrive. Chinese people, for example, are
subject to some of the worst pollution in the world,
yet they remain fairly healthy. In addition to other
factors, my Chinese doctor friend tells me the energy
between the people is enormous, because there are so
many, and points to that as another reason.

Even further, when you align yourself with population
control globalists, you are in the company of people
who have actually done many clandestine things to
control populations, in the past. Whether the Nazis,
or even some in our own science authority, have been
accused of using population control tactics.
Vaccines, food additives, biosphenol, pollution,
experimental drugs, especially those “for women” have
all been linked to sterility or fertility problems.
The evidence is so clear one has to wonder why they
continue. Another strange thing, adoptions are at an
all time demand, so much so that they are being
obtained form other countries (and as fertility
declines) yet people of color continue to have the
most amount of abortions. One has to wonder.

Of course, the globalists get to decide who is
undesirable. This subject is almost too painful to
mention.

Lastly, if anyone follows the globalists, and their
satellite groups, you would have known that recently
they have acknowledged the failure of the Global
Warming, no, no, Climate Change, no, no Climate
Disruption arguments. They now have announced a shift
to ginning up concerns for inserting population
control arguments to world governments. Of course,
all to foster a world taxing authority, like the
global warming hoax.

There will be a lot of discussion on this over the
next few months, as it has been put into the system
as new talking points. Watch for it on your local
network.

Report this

By tropicgirl, September 24, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would be careful about parroting the globalists’
views on population control and the need for it.

Besides being wrong, and its dangerous. There is no
evidence that the crowding of people is anything else
but intentional on the part of the global elite.
Ethnic cleansing, exile, moving mass amounts of
people, like in Iraq, as refugees… these are all
actions by oppressors, to redraw land boundaries, to
“cleanse” areas politically, and so on. Gaza.

To the contrary, many believe large groups of
populations thrive. Chinese people, for example, are
subject to some of the worst pollution in the world,
yet they remain fairly healthy. In addition to other
factors, my Chinese doctor friend tells me the energy
between the people is enormous, because there are so
many, and points to that as another reason.

Even further, when you align yourself with population
control globalists, you are in the company of people
who have actually done many clandestine things to
control populations, in the past. Whether the Nazis,
or even some in our own science authority, have been
accused of using population control tactics.
Vaccines, food additives, biosphenol, pollution,
experimental drugs, especially those “for women” have
all been linked to sterility or fertility problems.
The evidence is so clear one has to wonder why they
continue. Another strange thing, adoptions are at an
all time demand, so much so that they are being
obtained form other countries (and as fertility
declines) yet people of color continue to have the
most amount of abortions. One has to wonder.

Of course, the globalists get to decide who is
undesirable. This subject is almost too painful to
mention.

Lastly, if anyone follows the globalists, and their
satellite groups, you would have known that recently
they have acknowledged the failure of the Global
Warming, no, no, Climate Change, no, no Climate
Disruption arguments. They now have announced a shift
to ginning up concerns for inserting population
control arguments to world governments. Of course,
all to foster a world taxing authority, like the
global warming hoax.

There will be a lot of discussion on this over the
next few months, as it has been put into the system
as new talking points. Watch for it on your local
network.

Report this

By Free Oregon, September 24, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

China ascends, not because it is better, or more capable, or more wealthy, or more of
anything on the basis of which you criticize.

China ascends because of the depths to which the rest of us, in particular the US and
it’s satellites are descending.

Report this

By gerard, September 24, 2010 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

Quoted from the original:  “why does China receive so many rave reviews while Japan and Europe—which actually do a far better job of providing for their people—are treated with scorn and derision?”
  Raises interesting questions: 1. Are Japan and Europe actually treated with scorn and derision? by whom?  And 2.  Could it simply be a feigned surprise when coutries we have long thought of as “barbaric”, can “develop” so quickly and step into “our” into “our"modern” commercial world to compete?   
  Raises still another question: 3.  Were they so “barbaric” after all?  Or was that the same kind of 18th century propaganda we now see about Africa, and to some extent the Middle East as more or less “underdeveloped” implying uncivilized, less civilized, less human.
  This labelling “superior” and “inferior” is absolute manna to corporate wars and exploitation—that is, until the top management of said country in question catches on and learns how to exploit the exploiters. Examples:  China, Iran.
  We, making judgments from our high position in the “developed” war-mongering world, are really pretty stupid.

Report this

By samosamo, September 24, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

****************


I am not sure what is meant by ‘these postings’
but I have and still do try to keep people alert
to the idea of how unsustainable a population
of 7,000,000,000 people’s foot print is. I say as
a whole but the idea of China’s 1.3 billion and
trying to catch up with the western or u.s. style
of living, then yes indeed, that foot print is
much bigger and much more detrimental to the
planet as a whole when trying to maintain
sources needed for life and NOT filling up the
sinks/landfills/wastedumps with toxins and
hazardous materials which is exactly what is
happening. Even the natural system of the
ocean absorbing CO2 has, according to some
researchers, come to the maxed out level. And
all of that is just a small part that human
encroachment is affecting.

Some people think we can save all humans and
live acceptably with up to 11,000,000,000
people, I have my doubts about that. For a
smart species, we sure refuse to see the forest
because of the trees.

Report this

By Tobysgirl, September 24, 2010 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

Steven Hill: “no one even knows if populations of this magnitude ultimately are sustainable”

No one in these postings seems to have pointed out the obvious. Populations of this magnitude are not sustainable, especially if their standard of living begins to approach that of the West. They are destroying the environment at an even faster pace than they have in past centuries, and seem to have embraced civilization’s love of destruction with fervor. I don’t think we need worry about health-care costs for their aging population; this is the same government that promoted smoking as a way to reduce the population.

To industrialize at the speed China has, sans environmental regulation, does not bode well. We can see how industrialization has affected our nation (e.g., the Detroit River), and we supposedly have laws in place for our protection. We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars for our refusal to promote a clean environment (I don’t buy that cancers all result from “personal choice”) and take proper care of our people, and our population is only 300-plus million.

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By vicente carranza, September 24, 2010 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

For the last forty years I have had problems with anyone, even the experts, when they write about how bad another country is, like this article about China. Figures or analysis can be use to say what ever you want that you believe to be true.  Right now with what is happen in the reality of the United States we are in big do-do.  So lets stop worrying and wasting our time about weather China is better or worse then we are told. What are we going to do about our country? If what I am saying, it is so bad for us to concentrated on our own people.  Maybe I am all wrong.  Maybe is true what the Republican and Democrats are telling us,  we are still in paradise. I guess as long as you have a warm place to do-do, shine shoes and a tight cat then all is ok. You are in heaven.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, September 24, 2010 at 12:46 am Link to this comment

China with a big C, has money to burn. Just ask the Australians about what happened to their Mount Whaleback. Once it was a mountain. Now it is the largest open pit iron ore mine in the world. As John Pomfret reported in the Washington Post, last February 14th,: “an entire mountain crushed, sold and shipped to China.”

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By samosamo, September 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

****************


Could be that not many people really know how
to judge china and its capabilities. Just china’s
being a nuclear power and of course, being the
first to blow up a satellite in orbit while not in
itself a superpower be made, it certainly has the
attention of our military and government since
we owe them just about all our money.

But hey, maybe our vaunted MICCC, that’s
military industrial congressional cia complex,
will want to invade that sovereign country soon
for its wealth of much sought after minerals. Be
keeping in line with american nonsensical
greedy hubristic hegemony.

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By rollzone, September 23, 2010 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

hello. missin ya. cyber attacks to my computer have
shut down an entire security system for
‘maintenance’, and i am barely able to shop online.
there goes the economy. so, this little message aboot
China becoming a superpower is very possible. there
are two Chinas. this week they succeeded in being the
first to microwave map the entire moon surface. they
address mass transit in ways we never contemplate,
alike combination buses travelling above traffic.
they use phones for swipe payments. IF in the next
generation (20 years) they institute an economic plan
similar to Germany or Japan, and they double their
middle class growth rate to achieve 900 million: they
will have surpassed us. their housing bubble can not
meet demand IF the politics change and per capita
quadruples to 1/3 of ours. their entire perception of
sustainability must reverse from an overcrowded wish
of population thinning, to one of individual worth.
one great leader may come along, and they will be a
superpower. it will take years, but time has never
been short in China. they have far greater problems,
have to answer them best for themselves, and should
be a superpower to better deal with them. not a
uranium mess, nor fossil fuel: but innovative solar
energies with unlimited electricity. we use China
today to poorly copy our innovations in mass
production, but their technological engineering is
improving. that’s good. we should sell them Detroit.

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By Maani, September 23, 2010 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

MarkPK:

Art said: “China’s growth rate means it will double its output in 10 years, quadruple in 20 and be to eight times in 30 years.  That takes it to 21.6 trillion in two decades and 43.2 trillion in three.”

You said: “That assumes that its current growth rate will continue unabated.  But there’s an elephant in the room:  namely, China’s rapidly aging population (owing to its decades-long one child per couple policy), which will result, in the not too distant future, in a very steep upward curve in terms of health care costs.  A relatively small workforce (as compared with the number of seniors who are past the age of working) will be required to support an ever-increasing number of older citizens, and that curve will continue upwards for at least a generation.  One child per couple is not enough to maintain a stable population, so China is facing some enormous challenges ahead.”

You took the words right out of my computer!  How right you are.  And there are other reasons why that growth rate will not - cannot - stay the same.

I would add, re the trillions of American dollars that China is holding: this cuts both ways.  That is, China is extremely unlikely to dump those dollars since it would not only leave them without that leverage, but it would have a deleterious effect on the renminbi as well.

Basically, they are stuck with that money unless they want to commit economic suicide.

Peace.

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By Zeya, September 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Until the Chinese government does something to stop the torture and cold-blooded murder of animals for their fur (including skinning them alive), I will never step foot in China or consider it to be a civilized country. I’m sickened and saddened to think these fur farms (aka houses of horror) are still allowed to operate and to commit genocide against completely defenseless captive animals in the name of fashion and disgusting profits. And, yes, I know most of these furs/tortured animal skins are sold in the U.S., so of course we are also completely culpable and complicit partners in these abominable acts of animal cruelty.

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By markpkessinger, September 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

Art writes:

“China’s growth rate means it will double its output in 10 years, quadruple in 20 and be to eight times in 30 years.  That takes it to 21.6 trillion in two decades and 43.2 trillion in three.”

That assumes that its current growth rate will continue unabated.  But there’s an elephant in the room:  namely, China’s rapidly aging population (owing to its decades-long one child per couple policy), which will result, in the not too distant future, in a very steep upward curve in terms of health care costs.  A relatively small workforce (as compared with the number of seniors who are past the age of working) will be required to support an ever-increasing number of older citizens, and that curve will continue upwards for at least a generation.  One child per couple is not enough to maintain a stable population, so China is facing some enormous challenges ahead.

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By levi civita, September 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If US can starve one-sixth of its population and call itself a democracy and a
superpower, China with its 3000-year old well-honed confucian, communist or
not, bureaucracy has no trouble starving 80-percent of the population and yet
have a military might and economic prowess to match any other. Remember they
built the Longest Graveyard (otherwise known as the Great Wall) of China.

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By gerard, September 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

Part of the U.S. government/corporate tactic for keeping Americans cowed is to keep us afraid of some bugaboo “other.”  Now that “Terrorists” and “Islam” are becoming tiresome threats, maybe fear of China as a “superpower” looming over the horizon will be the next bete noir. North Korea doesn’t work out very well because of its pip-squeak size, though the State Department tries hard.
  But China—for generations people have been anxious about China if for no other reason than its sheer magniture and multiplicity.  Same can be said for India, except the some temporizing influences of historical Buddhism and associated ideas of harmlessness, plus certain “civilizing” influences of the good old British Empire. 
  The fact that Americans rely so much on stereotypes works to its ultimate and very grave disadvantage—yet we don’t seem able to learn at a more sophisticated level.
  Why is that?

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By Steve E, September 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Yes Tropicgirl, Shrub and his band of monkeys did a pretty good number on The
Constitution, rule of law, liberty and freedom. Now Obama, Mr. “nobody is above
the law” has even outdone Bush in his rape of justice and the judicial system. The
way they have it set up now anyone can be labeled a terrorist. Obama has even
implemented assassinations of American citizens.

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By mef, September 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“...estimates that 50 percent to 60 percent of China’s
GDP now comes from alarming levels of overbuilding,
virtually none of which is affordable to the average
Chinese. ‘This is not affordable housing for the middle
class…’”

Ditto??

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By mef, September 23, 2010 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Corruption is epidemic, whether in banks, the legal
system or the political leadership at national,
provincial and local levels, causing an estimated
annual economic loss of…”

Sounds rather familiar…

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By Steve E, September 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

For those “mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore” crowd here in the
United States, I think they’ll find there is going to be a “Tiananmen Square” all
planned ahead of time for them too. She is all over but the crying.

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By TROPICGIRL, September 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You really want to know why? Its because the
globalists admire the TACTICS that the Chinese are
able to get away with, against their millions of
people.

Fact is, all the Chinese people have to do is realize
that they can crush their government at ANY TIME.
Yet, they submit, for now.

All the globalists admire the tactics of the Chinese
and, well, even Hitler, since they emulate it so much
these days. Its really amazing how these tactics are
effective in getting people to hand over their lives
willingly. That is why propaganda is so integral to
the Obaaaaama administration.

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By CaptRon, September 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

“NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE LITTLE(?)GUY” !!

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By FRTothus, September 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

The debtor American pot calling the creditor Chinese kettle black.  This “hoax” has more legitimacy among its own people than does the US, has been much less aggressive and imperialistic than the US, and is quietly reducing their exposure to the near-bankrupt US dollar, buying up hard currencies (not ours) and assets, and is eating our lunch while our talking heads whine about others to distract us from the mess for which our very own one-party State oligarchs are responsible.  Very soon, however, the debtor US will find itself alone and insolvent, unable to borrow enough to pay even the interest on the debt (let alone the principal) from nations, such as China, who are growing increasingly uneasy about the very real fact that the US is becoming quite incapable of paying its bills, has third-world conditions of its own, and, apparently, cannot seem to mind its own business.

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By Art, September 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

China’s growth rate means it will double its output in 10 years, quadruple in 20 and be to eight times in 30 years.  That takes it to 21.6 trillion in two decades and 43.2 trillion in three; in the meantime we in the U.S., as well as Japan and Europe are stagnating.  It also has a vast domestic market to support its growth.  That is why it’s being hailed as the NEW superpower.

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By Steve E, September 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

The important factor above all else is control of the people and the same for the
United States. The powers that be, namely the corporations here in America, envy
the control China has and are very quickly trying to emulate the same and are
doing a damn good job of it.

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By SteveK9, September 23, 2010 at 11:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Agree with LOLz’s second post.  On another positive note.  I
am very interested in nuclear energy and China’s
‘infrastructure’ investments here are great for China and for
the world.  There is nothing like electricity to raise standards
of living.  A modern nuclear plant costs a lot but will last 100
years.  Westinghouse is building 4 reactors now and there are
a total of 28 under construction around the country. 
Westinghouse had to transfer the technology to China, who
will use this design as the basis for a massive rollout. 
However, at least Westinghouse had the opportunity to actually
build these plants and iron out any bugs.  Sanmen 1 will be
the first Westinghouse AP1000 built in the world.  Oh and by
the way, this should help clear some of that air Steven is
concerned about, help enormously with climate change, and
help lead the world from the oil into the uranium age.

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By LOLz, September 23, 2010 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

If Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore can industrialize and become advanced modern economies, then China can do it too.

Don’t forget when Imperial China was centuries ahead of the Europe, China’s vassal states (ie. Japan, Korea, Taiwan) copied heavily from China’s advanced civilization, culture, science, and technology.

Plus, if USSR was a Superpower, then China at the very least is a quasi-Superpower.

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By Hammond Eggs, September 23, 2010 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

The Soviet Union wasn’t any better than China.  And yet it was a “superpower”, capable of destroying the world.

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By LOLz, September 23, 2010 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Steve Hill’s article on China, the Superpower Hoax is an informative article for those not familiar with China, as it offers good insight into the country’s economic, political, and social systems and their shortcomings. The danger is that the reader will come away with a profoundly negative and pessimistic view of China beyond what the country warrants. Imagine the roles being reversed, with Chinese people reading about America’s negatives (rabid political polarization, manufacturing job loss, staggering corporate frauds and bankruptcies,decaying infrastructure, broken health care system, low-functioning educational system, massive government budget deficits and trade imbalances, terrorism, gun crimes, religious fundamentalism), and you see the problem.

Steve Hill is clearly knowledgeable about China, and he certainly identifies most of the country’s major problems: bankrupt State-owned enterprises (SOE’s), technically insolvent banks with huge quantities of non-performing loans, a ruling party lacking in ideas and the political will to change, a government addicted to creeping incrementalism out of fear of losing control, stifling of private enterprise and innovation, declining quality of life for millions of peasants, and the people’s own access to information, and to each other, via the Internet. Yet at the same time, he either ignores or diminishes the importance of foreign investment capital, building of thousands of new factories, a seemingly inexhaustible pool of cheap and willing labor, the Chinese people’s own rampant entrepreneurialism, and their enormous drive for material goods and a better life.

Also, Steve Hill’s writing style tends toward the dry and overly repetitive, as if saying something often enough will make it so. His arguments are often perceptive, yet at the same time they sound heavily opinionated, lacking in substantive supporting detail or statistics. Also, This article also littered with odd inaccuracies and unfairly negative interpretations that left me questioning the merits of his bigger arguments.

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By ibh, September 23, 2010 at 8:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jealous much?

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By Jim Yell, September 23, 2010 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our government, Democratic or Republican, spent many decades destroying industry in our country. They invested hugely and made huge amounts of profit by avoiding production in advanced countries that had environmental laws and regulations to protect labor.

It is probably ironic that one of the best places to make lots of money out of view was China, a supposed Communist country, but in fact just one more tiresome dictatorship. Huge amounts of money are now owed to China, money our leaders sent there thru “Most Favored Nation” programs. While I applaud the normalization of international relationships with China, it didn’t require us to surrender our own security along with it.

Without the ability to produce much on site here at home, we are vulnerable to all sorts of black-mail and leverage. If China should chose extra-territorial expansion they can afford to lose half their population to do so, maybe more.

If one wanted to be dramatic we might see China as the Morlocks of reality, devouring everything. The one thing I admired the Chinese Government for was its once aggressive attempt to control population growth, which apparently has failed. It won’t matter that it will harm the Chinese as much as it will the world as a whole.

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By aaalll111, September 23, 2010 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

This article could be sponsored by China. China likes to stay underestimated. Some of their folk customs: to buy 5 exactly the same dresses and wear them all the time, so people would think you have only 1 dress.

Comparing China with Kazakhstan is not logical. Kazakhstan is an essentially a boutique European country, with European ideals and European small population, but it has an advantage - enormous territory and enormous natural resources.

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JohnMcD's avatar

By JohnMcD, September 23, 2010 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

I wouldn’t underestimate China, they do have some
strategic leverage between rare earth element
supplies, the foreign debt they’re holding, and the
sheer size of their labor force.  Obviously, they’ve
got serious internal problems and I won’t be jealous
of those who are working for $10 a day or demanding
those 19th century industrial jobs “back.” 

Now, I think most of our economic problems here in
America are self-inflicted, so blaming China for that
isn’t exactly productive.  What we should be worried
about is whether or not we’re keeping up in the
technology and industry that will define the 21st
century. The problem is that other countries want to
modernize while we have powerful political
organizations who want to turn the clock backwards.

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By esi42, September 23, 2010 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

“Corruption is epidemic, whether in banks, the legal system or the political leadership at national, provincial and local levels”

I thought this article was about China?

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By Big B, September 23, 2010 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

beerdoc hit the nail on the head. We in the west, who now depend on cheap goods from China, India, and southeast asia to keep our new “global economy” churning, need them ALOT MORE than they need us.

China was a corrupt, civil war ravaged shithole for centuries. Go outside of their major cities and that same China still exists, and will exist whether we are there to support their current regime or not.

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By love, September 23, 2010 at 4:21 am Link to this comment

Once China becomes strong enough to stand alone, it
might discard us. A little later it might even turn
against us, if its perception of its interests requires
it.
- Henry Kissinger
Reference: 
http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/china/doctrine/0046.htm

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, September 23, 2010 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

WalMart NEEDS China, and its other Asian production partners. Apple NEEDS China. So does Microsoft. Examine where many computers are being made.

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kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, September 23, 2010 at 3:33 am Link to this comment

China owns our National Debt.  Hope they don’t call us on it.

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By undercover_report, September 23, 2010 at 3:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Finally someone has hit the nail on the head.  The statistics the Chinese spews out is about as valuable as a Hugo car.  The numbers are not to be trusted.  As for buying up cars, etc… surplus…. that is a known fact.  China has an excellent propaganda machine ready to leap into action on a moments notice.

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