A very interesting essay about an aspect of China I knew nothing about. There’s a certain similarity between the fate of the Chinese rural population and the folks in the heartland here in the US.
Exactly what I was thinking. Urban “multifamily” housing is said to be quite the investment at the moment.
Agreed – and a school day for me too with ‘anomie’.
For the benefit of others as uninformed as myself: “in societies or individuals, a condition of instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values. Such a society produces mental states characterized by a sense of futility, lack of purpose, and emotional emptiness and despair. Striving is considered useless, because there is no accepted definition of what is desirable.”
Sounds like the current situation in the U.K. and the West in general to me.
Not sure I agree. In the US, people who live in the heartland do so largely because they want to be there. Nobody is really stopping them from moving wherever. In China’s system, moving requires government approval and labor, skilled and otherwise, is managed like every other economic commodity, with little regard for the people themselves. Completely different situation. I suspect that the poverty there, as here in America, is probably overstated because while the rural population is poorer in absolute terms, their lifestyles are probably better than the urban poor simply because stuff, particularly housing, food, fuel, water, and electricity are significantly less costly outside the major metros, but I have little knowledge of day to day life in China so I could be wrong.
China isn’t the only Asian city to regard tower blocks as the answer. In Seoul acres of beautiful traditional housing was torn down and replaced with high rise buildings. I feel really sorry for rural families being forced away from the countryside into a tower block – I couldn’t imagine anything worse
It doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone that old buildings can be adapted to modern needs – as has happened all over Europe for hundreds of years.
Re. the banning of Return to Dust, presumably Chinese people have got access to VPNs.
There are a lot of articles in the media, especially those that cater to more intellectual tastes, whose headline consists of some formulation of ‘woe betide the poor uneducated folk in the hinterlands with their donkeys, their guns, and their superstitious backwards ways.’ They then go on to discuss achievement gaps or teen pregnancy or dropout rates or w/e other perceived negative measure of social value that inflates the egos of educated urbanites vis a vis their perceived social inferiors. Then they move on to some macroeconomic assessment of how the rural folks are dragging all of society down, ruining our otherwise enlightened civilization with their benighted views and destructive habits, perhaps proposing some piece of top-down paternalistic social engineering to ‘address the problem’. The attitudes inherent in these types of articles would likely be considered racist and would never be printed were they about a a racial group or nationality, but alas, unwashed hill folk who won’t get with the program and go live in a sardine can with the rest of the good little sardines remain acceptable targets of both ridicule or pity as needed for urbanites to indulge their vanity and sense of self-righteousness. Whatever lets you sleep at night, I suppose.
I like the cut of your jibe.
Tellingly, those unwashed hill folk manage to do the one thing necessary for civilisation to sustain itself and which the metropolitan on-programme types increasingly can’t or won’t build lives to do: have children.
Once the whole globe, including the children of the hill folk, is in sardine cans and the birth rate has plummeted everywhere, the cities will fail. The hill folk, those that are left, will still be where they were.
Have you ever fallowed Peter Zeihan? He is everywhere on the internet – everything he says sounds so plausible, and his shtick is China will be done as a nation within a decade. For a living he talks to Corporate Headquarters, Business Clubs, Military, Security Services,,, and loads of youtube
His main thing is Demographics, and he is a very compelling talker. Watch a long one and he will convince you a billion people will soon starve, China and Russia will be destroyed, and most of the world a disaster. Energy is the key to everything he says – and it all is so convincing – he studied Chinese and lived there a bit, and it is his specialty… This is his home page on youtube – check out any on China – you will learn a lot.
I do not believe what he says, only he is really good at his talk of global (except some parts) Armageddon coming at us very fast. His insights on Xi are what is really interesting – and if he is right it puts China in a whole new light – a lot of things make sense there that just seemed crazy…
My problem is he is 100% pro vax – so I know he has some huge biases – also his Ukraine (something he talks of a great deal) stuff I do not believe – but one never knows. I rather suspect he is ‘Controlled Opposition’ and really a sort of tame conspiracy person who is actually part of the whole Agenda thing. But then that is how deep a conspiracy loon I am – that I think other conspiracy loons must be really working for the other side….haha, a sort of agenda Ray Epps, haha..
But if you wish to hear a lot of good China stories check him out – the Urbanizing of the Chinese is a big part of his story, so on topic here – although Xi is the main story, that and energy and aging of the Chinese…..
Peter predicted the Chinese economy would have crashed by now. He makes such extreme predictions I can’t accept any of them as likely.
The Chinese economy would appear to be a slow moving car crash though. A population that is becoming incredibly old (even more so than the west), many countries trying to move production away from China as well as a massively unsustainable property bubble points to serious problems in the not too distant future, even before the problems caused by the Covid lockdowns
Hello Mr Moze Arundel. Its the haha that gave it away.
‘But then that is how deep a conspiracy loon I am – that I think other conspiracy loons must be really working for the other side’ – that’s pretty standard fringe stuff, there was a set that thought alex Jones was just part of the new media. That he deliberately tried to cause trouble at demonstrations and discredited causes merely by association. Old piers corbyn association with David ike during covid anti vax business got caught taking money from people pretending to be Astra Zeneca. To say their vax was safe over others. The proper ‘conspiracy loons’ like Mark Lombardi, don’t normally make it public for long.
Well thanks for the degree of objectivity you managed to helpfully apply to your interpretation of Mr Zeihan’s musings – sounds like it’s a real challenge for you to keep the dogs of your own conspiratorial prejudices at bay!
My God, how unremittingly bleak. Like the title of the film, positively funereal. Cities which feed off the farmers tend to impoverish them everywhere, because the markets for commodities are monolithic and dictated by city folk, and because those in control of the retailing take all the profits. It’s the Economy, Stupid. It’s about economic power. Not quite Marxism 101, not quite Capitalism 101. More like the Eternal Triangle.
Just went and checked the plot of the story.
Bleak and beautiful. And I can see why the Chinese govt hate it, because it highlights how morally bankrupt, “price of everything and value of nothing” society becomes in a Marxist / communist system that has destroyed all concept of religion, local community, humanity in the name of “progrss”.