Living the Chinese Dream

I did not meet one student in China who did not want to live what might be termed the ‘Chinese Dream’ – to work hard for a multinational company, live in a brand-new apartment in a big city and own their own car. Death of a Salesman anyone? Very few people who aspire to that lifestyle are going to be able to achieve it – and if they do, the consequences for China and the world are almost too horrendous to contemplate. I mean, I have tried to think about what it means for our environmental resources, but thankfully this guy has gone several steps further and actually done the maths. And while I find Maths itself pretty traumatic to deal with, his conclusions may make you want to pack up and head for Mars:

The western economic model – the fossil fuel-based, car-centred, throwaway economy – is not going to work for China. If it does not work for China, it will not work for India, which by 2031 is projected to have a population even larger than China’s. Nor will it work for the 3 billion other people in developing countries who are also dreaming the “American dream”.

The key point though, which a lot of people writing about the consequences of China’s massive industrial growth rate seem shy to confront, is that it’s not just a question of how the Chinese do things, but about the unsustainability of our own model of development, which developing countries are simply encouraged to emulate:

In an increasingly integrated global economy, where all countries are competing for the same oil, grain and iron ore, the existing economic model will no longer work for industrial countries either.

It’s a very refreshing and not entirely dispiriting article – if you happen to live in China you might not be able to find it via Google:

After holding out longer than any other major internet company, Google will effectively become another brick in the great firewall of China when it starts filtering out information that it believes the government will not approve of.

According to one internet media insider, the main taboos are the three Ts: Tibet, Taiwan and the Tiananmen massacre, and the two Cs: cults such as Falun Gong and criticism of the Communist party.

I reckon I could do that job!

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