Development is happening quickly, though not as quickly as megacities grew in China. Of 50 economic zones planned nine years ago, only six have been built. Developers are struggling to adapt to the differences in various African cultures and differences in governance. “I think from Chinese point of view, the biggest danger is corruption in African countries,” says Hulshof. “But another problem they will run into is democracy … which makes it more difficult to develop in the top-down way that Chinese companies are used to. If people own land, you can’t just kick them out.”
A photo investigation of the Chinese-sponsored apartments, highways, factoriesand even entire citiesthat are sprouting up in Africa at an astounding…
Worth a read.
An examination of U.N. and Chinese trade data reveals that exports to North Korea of products including cars, tobacco, laptops, cellphones and domestic electrical appliances all increased significantly over the past five years.
The chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, Chen Bingde, told reporters he thought the U.S. should cut back on defense spending for the sake of its taxpayers. He was speaking during a joint news conference in which he traded barbs with visiting U.S. counterpart Adm. Mike Mullen.
“I know the U.S. is still recovering from the financial crisis,” Chen said. “Under such circumstances, it is still spending a lot of money on its military and isn’t that placing too much pressure on the taxpayers?
”If the U.S. could reduce its military spending a bit and spend more on improving the livelihood of the American people … wouldn’t that be a better scenario?
Kindred Winecoff introduces the excellent point that the fact that the U.S. is experiencing an inflation rate that’s lower than China’s means that the real exchange rate is adjusting faster than the nominal rate. Consequently, “[t]o the extent that we want to boost employment through exporting, increased inflation could prolong that process.”
Or to look at it another way, our inability to get China to allow for more rapid appreciation of the Yuan is arguably pressing us toward a lower-than-ideal inflation rate.
According to Hong Kong-based real estate analyst Gillem Tulloch, who is interviewed in the piece, the housing units are priced well above what an average Chinese person can afford. The result, he says, is a housing bubble that is terrifying in size, “a property bubble like which I don’t think we’ve ever seen,” he says. “It will make the United States pale in comparison. It’s said that there’s around 64 million empty apartments…. It’s essentially the modern equivalent of building pyramids. It doesn’t add to the betterment of people’s lives, all it does is it promotes GDP.”
From Empty Chinese Houses
Uh-no. Not again.
Back in the 1990s it was often fashionable to argue that increased prosperity would magically transform China into a more liberal political system. Today, that’s clearly not the case. What we’re seeing here, though, is the more likely mechanism for political change—dashed hopes. Peasant farmers often just feel beaten-down and resigned to their fate. But these are the would-be upwardly mobile. People who know perfectly well that better economic opportunities are possible and thus are poised to develop complaints and resentments.
This is a test of the theory that economic liberalization will lead to political change.