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The China Bubble
China Is Building More Houses Than It Has People

Despite glaring warning signs, China’s inland building boom is poised to reach new, and insane, heights. The South China Morning Post reports:

Ambitious expansion plans by small and medium towns across China have lead to the creation of more than 3,500 “new areas” for residential and economic use raising fears many are destined to become ghost towns.

The combined projected population of these new areas is an “impossible” 3.4 billion people – 2.5 times the current number of people in the country, experts say.

China has been promoting inland urbanisation as a salve for its wobbling economy. Yet it’s hard to imagine Beijing really believes building two homes per head is a prudent prescription for an aging population. Whether the building spree signals policy paralysis, nihilism, or a damning prosecution of build-and-they-shall-come state capitalism is up for debate. What is certain is that between the private debt explosion in the coastal corridor and this sort of public miscalculation inland, there are plenty of reasons to be worried about China’s ability to reform or exercise restraint over local administrators.

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  • rheddles

    Jerry Brown’s next gig.

  • Andrew Allison

    Whom the Gods would destroy . . . .?

  • FriendlyGoat

    One wonders why we would believe everything that happens to appear in print. Unless they are moving India into China, this ain’t happening.

  • GS

    First of all, at the housing norm of 7 by 3 feet per nose, they could hold more than 3.4 billion. Er… that’s for the gravesites. Never mind. Second, and more importantly, they would need to build not only the housing itself, but the infrastructure – water and gas lines, sewers, waste treatment plants, electricity, roads, and the workplaces for all these housed people to work at. What is the point of building a ‘bedroom” town with nothing to do in it for its inhabitants? If there is an excellent high capacity transportation system then they could work somewhere else – and even then it better be in the vicinity. Or it could be a retirement village.

    • Jim__L

      Actually if the Urbanists in this country had their way, we would all be living in high-rise Tokyo-style coffin hotels — which give you maybe 7 by 3 per person, stacked dozens of times into the sky.

      It’s more “efficient”, you know. And economists say that the denser population is stuffed together, the higher their GDP numbers look, so there can’t be any drawbacks to it, right? =D

      • GS

        But I do not want to rub shoulders with their kind of crap.

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