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The burst is about to bubble

Regarding the giant black hole that is the chinese economy, I Am Scared(tm).
It's far too big for our own good. Everyone knows that if it crashes, we're back in 1929. Forget going from 100k to Wal-Mart. You'll be going from 100k to hungry.

And what ticked this extremelly hyped post?

"Dongguan is one of a score of Chinese megacities whose extraordinary growth reflects China's boom and its challenge. The country's rapid urbanization is helping to lift hundreds of millions of rural Chinese out of poverty. But at the same time, these new second-tier cities are locked in a ferocious competition, spawning ambitious development plans that escape the control of the central government in Beijing."

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/28/international/asia/28china.html?hp

RP
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

China is a mystery. Reportedly, most of them receive loans at highly economical rates which enables them to be competitive. How long this can be maintained is anyones guess.

Even worse, their leadership is plain mad. Its like having Saddam Hussein with a few hundred billion dollars in spare cash. They dont give a hoot to international opinion.

There are reports that to meet energy/water requirements, they want to burst an atomic bomb to divert the mighty Brahmaputra River to meet its developmental needs. Its such a massive river that a move like this is likely to destroy Bangladesh/North East India/Tibet.  No one knows what the exact environmental damage will amount to. As their growth continues, expect more insane plans like this. An invasion of Taiwan/Southern Russia cannot be ruled out.

Karthik 
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

> There are reports that to meet energy/water requirements, they want to burst an atomic bomb to divert the mighty Brahmaputra River to meet its developmental needs.

Is that true?  If they do that, what would India's reaction be?  Maybe WWIII starts in Asia.  I don't even want to think about that.

christopher (baus.net)
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

> An invasion of Taiwan/Southern Russia cannot be ruled out.

And ~50 years later, the Chinese government still occupies Tibet...  if I lived in Bhutan or Nepal I'd not be sleeping too well either.  (see, for exmaple, "Freedom in Exile" by the Dalai Lama)  Korea?  Another Sino-Indian war?  Another thousand-year occupancy of Vietnam?  It's frightening to think about.

Also, I read an article somewhere recently that detailed the possible consequences of the serious gender imbalance in the Chinese population.  (a quick Google search turns up a bunch of hits but I can't find the article I remember)  The gist was that having a large surplus of males increases the chances of massive civil unrest, aggressive war, and other highly unpleasant things.

But even if no shooting war results, the consequences of 1/6 of the world's population hell-bent on industrializing with seemingly complete disregard for any thoughts of sustainability or long-term consequences is sobering.

The US is no role model in this regard, with our vastly disporportionate per-capita rates of resources consumed & pollution produced.  But the non-Malthusian solution is that the US and the rest of the industrialized world need to get much better and NOT that China, India et. al. should emulate us by getting much worse.

(If you think $3/gallon for gas is bad, just imagine (or even better, do the math) if the 2 billion people in China and India drove Navigators, Hummers etc. at the same rate we do in the US.  How would things be after a generation or two of THAT?)

- former car owner in Queens
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The stuff about diverting a river with nuclear weapons is not all that far fetched. I read in an article someone linked from misc.transport.road a few years ago that in the early 1960s the "Atoms for Peace" initiative was being expanded to a proposal to use nuclear weapons to help level or cut through a mountain in Southern California to expedite a highway construction project.

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

True, but inaccurate?

"China's northwest territory, which includes the Gobi Desert, contains almost half of that country's total landmass, but only seven per cent of its freshwater. Recently some Chinese engineers proposed diverting water into this arid area from the mighty Brahmaputra River, which skirts China's southern border before dipping into India and Bangladesh. Such a feat would be impossible with conventional methods, engineers stated at a meeting held last December (1995) at the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics in Beijing. But they added that `we can certainly accomplish this project' -- with nuclear explosives.''

-- Scientific American, June 1996.


Putting it in perspective, in the early days of atomics it was also thought we could use them to mine ore or dig canals.    Was it said? Yes.  Did they mean it? I doubt it.

Anonanonanon
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Former Car owner in queens, fortunately we have a little something called the price system.  As more and more people drive cars and gasoline becomes rarer and rarer, the price goes up and people figure out there are more economical ways of getting around.

As for another poster, why assume that a china vs. india war would result in WWII?  Whom do you assume would be eager to jump in on whose side?  In WWI there was an unhealthy series of treaties obligating everyone to fight for everyone else.  In WWII the free world was understandably concerned about Fascism spreading everywhere.

I think nowadays the Europeans have proven they are decadent pussies who wouldn't lift a glove to help anyone militarily.  The US I don't really see as too eager to go to war against (presumably) China.  Where's the WWIII in this?

BTW, is that true about using a nuke to divert a river?  I think we all considered that back in the 1950s when Nuclear power was new and seemed magical.  Isn't it just obviously nuts to everyone now?

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

> fortunately we have a little something
> called the price system ...

Agreed, and I hope Smith's invisible hand steers us all towards something that makes more sense long-term than universal provate auto ownership.  Might have made sense at 1 or 2 billion people, but disaster at 10 billion.

My point here would be that, knowing what we know now about patterns of land use after a half-century-plus of essentially unfettered auto-centric development, it would make far more sense to steer (sorry) a developing economy towards the post-automotive world that from here looks not only inevitable but ever more imminent (per the point above about people seeking alternative transport when gasoline prices rise), rather than getting mired into an auto-centric economy/society like the US has.

- former car owner in Queens
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I personally think that we in the US are setting ourselves up to for a serious systematic failure.  Decades of zoning in spraw has created the world's most inefficient transportation system.  I sometimes wonder how we in the US could have gone so horribly wrong.  Even a small oil shock could likely destroy our economy.  It would litterally stop moving.

Living in Tahoe, I sometimes watch the parade of SUVs come up from Sacramento and the Bay Area on the weekend.  It blows my mind.  If you painted them all green, it would look like a military invasion.  The amount of rolling capital is mind boggling. 

The growth in Sacramento is out of control.  We are having serious effects from the polution up here in Tahoe.  Even with all the liberal, greens in Califonia, I would argue that California is becoming a ecological nightmare, mostly from car driven suburban sprawl.

christopher (baus.net)
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Just to be contrary, doing massive structural engineering with nukes sounds pretty cool to me.  :)

Screwing over everybody who lives downstream and is dependent on the river staying in roughly the same place, not so good.  Bummer that.

Matt Conrad
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Regarding China's army, wasn't it in 1999 that the CIA put out a report that they basically had a standing 1 billion man army?

Not to thump the bible or anything, but there's something in there regarding the "Kings for the East" crossing the Euprhates with a 1 billion man army.  That large an army never existed - until now...

Thumper
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

If China and India went to war it certainly would be WW 3. Their armies would be the same size as the massed Allied / Axis armies of WW 2.

For what it's worth, China whipped India last time they had a war, in 1962. India had been pushing its borders forward trying to steal more land and the Chinese finally had had enough and pushed them back. The Indian army revealed itself to be incompetent.


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Edward Teller had a number of ideas like carving out an Alaskan harbor with nukes. Not the normal image of a kook, either.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Teller

I'd have little trouble believing that there are influential Chinese considering such things.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

One thing about the Sino/India war that scares me is that they have so many people on there that the war could go virtually forever. It's no secret that while the UK, US and USSR built secret bunkers to house certain select individuals in case of a nuclear war, the chinese basically knew that with a population like theirs, they would still have a civilization in case of a major nuclear war. Of course, I believe this idea was put forward before people thought about the nuclear winter.


Now, to be a bit nasty, can you see those development jobs coming back to the West in case there's a major war?

RP
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Constructive Uses of Nuclear Weapons
Edward Teller, W.K. Taller, G.H. Higgins, G.W. Johnson
McGraw Hill

TK 9153 C6 1968 (in the university library here)

I think the harbour construction is in here (it's been 14 years since I read the book), along with a scheme for improving the Panama Canal - get rid of all those stupid locks and just blast a nice, straight, wide canal right through the narrowest part with a sequence of nukes.  Do this at the right time of year, and most of the fallout will blow out to sea.

Ward
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I thought Atomics were outlawed by the Guild???

Anyone using Atomics will be subject to some of the most severe of reprisals (including concerted Landsraad military action, retaliation from the Emperor, withdrawal of Guild shipping rights etc.)

Atreides
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Another problem if the Chinese and Indians do go head to head again is that they're both big believers in nuclear weapons and both have weapons aimed at each other. Also Pakistan would probably come in on China's side.

It will be a real headache for the world's policeman and for everyone living in the region, that's for sure.


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Christopher, the problem with California is that they tried to do things better than everybody else, and picked something that was a bad idea.

Making LA a city with no true downtown sounded like a great idea, but it creates a sprawl, for example.

The problem is, nobody wants to leave California.  Even though a good percentage of  californians are always ranting about wanting to leave, they never do.

Flamebait Sr.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

China's gender imbalance is far more likely to cause a rise in polyandry, polyamory and/or serial monogamy, than it is to cause WW3.

Also, China does not have a billion man army.  It doesn't even have a billion men (the current population of China -- men, women, and children -- is around 1.2 billion).

Revelations speaks of a 200 million man army from the East, but that's still in the realm of fevered imaginations.    Assuming that China even had an interest in invading Israel, the logistics would be a nightmare.  No one in history has ever fielded an army even one-hundredth that size.  (Moreover, drying the Euphrates would hardly be necessary to transport such an army).

Alyosha`
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

> The problem is, nobody wants to leave California.  Even though a good percentage of  californians are always ranting about wanting to leave, they never do.

I seem to see plenty of Californians over here in Nevada. 

christopher (baus.net)
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I don't see in the biblical text an indication of the attack being on Israel specifically.  The weapons systems also do not sound similar to an M16 or the Chinese equivalent. :-)


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

"(If you think $3/gallon for gas is bad, just imagine (or even better, do the math) if the 2 billion people in China and India drove Navigators, Hummers etc. at the same rate we do in the US.  How would things be after a generation or two of THAT?)"

China has no air quality standards.  Their factories and powerplants burn coal and don't use scrubbers etc.  Probably far worse than if they all drove hummers

Mike
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

"I think we all considered that back in the 1950s when Nuclear power was new and seemed magical.  Isn't it just obviously nuts to everyone now?"

Also interesting is that it was believed by many that Nukes would provide free electricity.  It turns out that the cost of dealing with the materials is what is costly.

Mike
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Nuclear weapons aside, just the act of diverting a river which runs into another country and supplies big cities in that country with water would be a pretty big deal, even if it was done in a safe and clean manner.

It would be interesting (in a bad sort of way) to see how the world reacted to that sort of thing.

Mr.Fancypants
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Well, here in Portugal we have that problem too. All of our rivers are born in Spain and the common view among the spanish is that they should simply cut the flow to us and send it to their impoverished regions.

Luckily to us, the government knows better.

D. Afonso Henriques
Thursday, July 29, 2004

The poor people in China will revolt against these nouveau riches. The rich-poor inequalities gap is getting wider and wider and the people in rural areas will not stand down. Just watch !!

mao
Thursday, July 29, 2004

not to mention the AIDS epidemy

mao
Thursday, July 29, 2004

many wars are over water. expect more in the future now that water can be and is diverted on a massive scale.

mb
Thursday, July 29, 2004

India already steals water from rivers that go to surrounding countries anyway. It would be ironic if China gave it a taste of its own medicine.


Thursday, July 29, 2004

"fortunately we have a little something called the price system.  As more and more people drive cars and gasoline becomes rarer and rarer, the price goes up and people figure out there are more economical ways of getting around."
Unfortunately the gas prices in the US are ridiculously low, and after a few decades you guys still haven't worked out that you don't necessarily need a 5 liter V8 to move a car.

Anyway, I saw this program on Discovery or National Geographic the other night about deserts. Among a lot of other interesting things they showed a manmade desert in California. It was created when a river was rerouted to provide water for LA.

Duq
Thursday, July 29, 2004

There was a programme on BBC last night about the rich and not very famous moving houses in the USA. They showed a new housing development in the desert, about 15 miles outside Las Vegas. Some enterprising chap negotiated the rights to the wastewater from Vegas. He’s processed it and generated an oasis in the desert.

Quite funny to watch a woman gushing about how “it just looks like Italy!!!!” Total crap. Looked to me like what happens when Disney Land, McDonalds and The Furniture Police get together to design a town for people paranoid about personal security.

Ian H.
Thursday, July 29, 2004

There may be a conflagration over water but it's most likely to be in the Middle East. Incidentally it was there that Saddam destroyed the whole way of life of the Marsh Arabs by cutting off their water by damming the Euphrates.

As for gasoline expect a price of $60 a barrel by 2010. We will definitely have used up more than half the world's oil by then.

There has been a lot of World Bank research on water. They maintian that every country must actually put a price on the water that is used by industries and large scale agriculture.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, July 29, 2004

As the populations of India and China continue to expand beyond their abily to house/feed/treat, I can easily forsee an "agreed upon" war between the 2 mot populus nations.

Kill a few million on each side and all of the sudden you have more resources for the rest of your people.  I do not believe that the Indians would go for this, but I am certain the Chinese leaders have already considered it.

Their may have outlasted the majority of the Communist regimes, but I believe that it is still an environment of nobody wanting to be the bearer of bad news.  Therefore, eventually I can see them not knowing the true state of their economic/industrial affairs and having no other option but to go to war to acquire vast supplies of new resources.

Tom Clancy wrote something similar in his book "The Bear and the Dragon"

The Wanderer
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Wow, after Tom Clancy's accurate prediction in 1994 regarding flying airliners into buildings, I sure hope he has the India/Chinese war thing wrong.

AllanL5
Thursday, July 29, 2004

The beauty of having nuclear weapons on both sides of a conflict is that nobody will dare to make the first move. It has worked between USSR and USA. I do not see why it will not work for India and China. If there are to be fightings between the two nuclear nations, it will be at most small arm exchanges in the border area. Besides, the area both nations are fighting for are isolated mountain areas. It is more of a national pride issue.

RZ
Thursday, July 29, 2004

"Unfortunately the gas prices in the US are ridiculously low, and after a few decades you guys still haven't worked out that you don't necessarily need a 5 liter V8 to move a car."

True as far as it goes, but to my mind this misses the point.

What the car-loving industrialized nations and car-aspiring developing nations haven't worked out (or, more to the point, seem to have forgotten in the last hundred years or so) is that you don't need to move 3,000+ lb cars AT ALL to move ~200-lb humans (or, more generally, to have a decent life.)

See, for example, www.carfree.com (Or, even better, go visit Amsterdam :-)

- former car owner in Queens
Thursday, July 29, 2004

> The beauty of having nuclear weapons on both sides of a conflict is that nobody will dare to make the first move.

That is of course unless somebody crazy is in charge.  Like Castro say.  He didn't care about mutually assured destruction during the bay of pigs.  Well according to Robert McNamara.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Thursday, July 29, 2004

The international community must be vigilant against the chinese government. Its a governmet more dangerous than Idi Amin. Their government are cannibals.

Having said that, let me also say the chinese i have known are some of the kindest, gentlest people.

Karthik
Friday, July 30, 2004

"The beauty of having nuclear weapons on both sides of a conflict is that nobody will dare to make the first move."


Unless, of course, a nuke is "stolen" by "terrorists" who just happen to smuggle it into another country and set it off.  I could see a country trying that, thinking that there is a good chance the other country couldn't retaliate, only to find out that the other country isn't buying it.  I'm looking at some examples in US history.  The Japanese thought that bombing Pearl Harbor would keep the US out of WW2, and who knows what the 9/11 bombings where suppose to accomplish, but I doubt the terrorists wanted more US soldiers in the Middle East (It seems to me that the actions of the ME terrorists are diametrically opposed to their professed goals; a case of “I mean what I say, not what I do”).

Steamrolla
Friday, July 30, 2004

Of course, there is alway a chance some terrorists will try to start wars by blowing off a nuclear device. It is up to the leaders of nuclear nations to decide if they want to destroy this world. Let face it, having a nuclear war will benefit nobody, not even the terrorists. The terrorists are naive to think that by taking down the United States, they can conquer the world. Hitler did not succeed and he is a lot crazier than Bin Laden.
If it wasn't for the oil in the middle east, most of the arabic nations will be like Africa. The terrorists will have no fund to draw from.

RZ
Friday, July 30, 2004

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