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You’ll never be Chinese

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really interesting piece on China today & where its society is headed...

This scares the daylights out of me:

There is nowhere to put [your money in China] except into property or under the mattress. The stock markets are rigged, the banks operate in a way that is non-commercial, and the yuan is still strictly non-convertible. While the privileged, powerful and well-connected transfer their wealth overseas via legally questionable channels, the remainder can only buy yet more apartments or thicker mattresses.

The result is the biggest property bubble in history, which when it pops will sound like a thousand firework accidents.

Having just suffered through that in America, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

I forget where I read it, but supposedly it's already happening, with Beijing suppressing housing sales reports.

Managing the inevitable crash, whether or not it's happening now, will be the truest test of Communism we've ever seen.... Academically interesting :-) .... also "Chinese proverb" interesting (pun intended!)

Just in Beijing, or all over China?

don't remember, this was a few months ago. Apparently it started last fall

Wow, that would mean that both Europe and China are fragile economically.

In which case the American economic recovery could take a very long time.

This observation...

The government is so scared of the people it prefers not to lead them.... In rural China, village level decisions that require higher authorisation are passed up the chain of command, sometimes all the way to Beijing, and returned with the note attached: “You decide.” The Party only steps to the fore where its power or personal wealth is under direct threat. The country is ruled from behind closed doors, a building without an address or a telephone number.

...and this observation...

To rise to the top you must be grey, with no strong views or ideas. Leadership contenders might think, and here I hypothesise, that once they are in position they can show their “true colours.” Too late they realise that will never be possible.

...make me wonder how long it will be before something gives.

Feels like a China crisis is coming. I just can't tell if it will be in a year or in a decade.

Fascinating theory that China will suffer because its culture does not value leadership:

Leadership requires empathy, an ability to put yourself in your subordinate’s shoes. It also requires decisiveness and a willingness to accept responsibility. Believing themselves to be unique, the Chinese find it almost impossible to empathise. Controlled by people with conflicting interests, China’s government struggles to be decisive in domestic issues, let alone foreign ones.

Empathy as the essence of leadership is a great definition.

After fully reading this article (and reading many others just like it), it's pretty apparent that China is in danger of catastrophic collapse. What is interesting is that the upheaval seems like it will be on a scale we cannot even fathom let alone one history has ever recorded before.

But what I find particularly striking, is that aside from African mineral exploitation and propping up the dollar (which they stopped doing several years ago), is the Chinese economy is at once pretty insular and entirely export based. They just don't buy much else, except for luxury goods, from outside China. I question whether a Chinese implosion would have a significant effect on the global economy, except for shortages in low-grade manufactured goods.

You might be right, but anything that causes the contraction of a 1.3 billion person economy will likely have ripple effects of some sort.

No way to know what until it happens.

This one strikes me as odd:

The domestic Chinese lower education system does not educate. It is a test centre. The curriculum is designed to teach children how to pass them. In rural China, where we have lived for seven years, it is also an elevation system. Success in exams offers a passport to a better life in the big city. Schools do not produce well-rounded, sociable, self-reliant young people with inquiring minds. They produce winners and losers. Winners go on to college or university to take “business studies.” Losers go back to the farm or the local factory their parents were hoping they could escape.

What's odd isn't that China's education system is designed to teach for the test... but it's that the author doesn't appear to have realized that China INVENTED teaching to the test.. thousands of years ago! Hell.. they even invented the test!!

Something tells me that it's going to take quite a while for the Chinese to overcome literal millenia of inertia in their education system.