New China High Speed Rail Fail Exposes Rifts
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  • I’m waiting for Tom Friedman to write a thoughtful piece comparing this to the Jonestown flood, and maintaining that while that disaster was caused by callous disregard by robber barons, this latest Chinese mishap was a more enlightened and centrally-planned disaster, lamenting the fact that our uncoordinated government cannot sponsor such public-private disasters.

  • Jim.

    I’m not sure China is changing all that much.

    One of the main takeaways from my courses in Chinese history back in college was the theory of the dynastic cycle.

    Dynasties would rise and fall based on the “mandate of heaven”, or a general sense of how useful or corrupt the regime was. One of the major, or perhaps the major, contributing factor to this perception is the balance between conspicuous consumption among the governing classes (how much they were lining their own pockets) and the effectiveness of public works (flood control in particular.)

    A collapse of a 1000-foot section of train track would fall pretty clearly under the “public works aren’t effective” heading. I’m not sure where lies and cover-ups fall in terms of classic Chinese virtue, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t good either.

    Minor takeaway — China isn’t easy to govern, and never has been.

    Major takeaway — things don’t change as much as fashionable modern thought would have you believe.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    China is headed to the same place as Japan is now in (depression) and for the very same reasons. China however lacks a number of advantages that Japan enjoys and so the Chinese depression is going to be much worse. China lacks the flexibility of Democracy to change political directions, as well as the legitimacy and anti-corruption properties it conveys. The Rule of Law is given only lip service in China, and political prisoners are common. China also lacks any internationally recognized industrial leaders, like Japan’s Sony, or Toyota. Finally, the problems with China’s high speed rail, empty cities, and empty skyscrapers, are only symptoms of much deeper fundamental problems in Chinese culture, which they refuse to acknowledge and address.

  • Corlyss

    “[I]s part of the process to rectify quality problems spotted on the embankment in pre-launch tests.”

    That’s a great way to test the roadbed: let’s build a rail system on it and see if it collapses! If it doesn’t good for us! If it does, well, we know it’s not firm enough! Gotta love that hands-on real-time testing technique. Almost sounds French.

  • justaguy

    China is getting grey before it is getting rich.

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