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What the Chinese are gaining is not having a political melt-down and chaos. And, of course, a massive industrial machine with a massive resource hunger and a massive destruction of the viability of their own sustainable biocapacity.

They are in a race, and whether they end up as winners in some sense depends on how effectively they manage the demographic transition. However, they are doing just about everything they can do, with all of the choices facing them involving hard trade-offs and genuine uncertainty how much bad to accept for how much good on either side of the choice ...

... and, sure, it could all come unraveled.

However, they might keep on juggling plates without too many crashing down and without falling off the high wire that they are driving their unicycle across. Its not a static question of where they have arrived, its a dynamic question of whether they can keep the plates on the air and the unicycle wheel on the wire.

There is, however, a possible viable future, with their current demographic track meaning a falling population level by the next generation, and their real economy at least gaining the ability to make things that countries with the resources they need may be interested in having.

For transnationals looking to maintain and buid on their present position of strength, it does depend on how effectively they acquire effective military force, doesn't it? Because when it comes down to it, when there is a dispute over property titles across large number of borders, the ability to move a squad of soldiers into the property and boot out the interlopers, from the perspective of that side of the negotiating table, is the strong hand when it comes to property rights.

This is, of course, another reason for those of us with a commitment to liberal democracy to invest in resilient local economies in sub-Saharan Africa. The big transitional World Wars tend to get started in a region of soft states on the periphery of the main actors ... Italy in the Napoleonic World War, the Balkans in WWI, eastern Europe and Southeast Asia in WWII (the long cycle people have more examples, those are the ones that come to mind). The EU already has multiple stakeholdings in Sub-Saharan Africa, the US is heavily dependent on Africa oil, and the Chinese, of course, are busily building up their influence, swapping manufactured goods on easy credit terms for access to raw materials.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 01:18:46 PM EST
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For transnationals looking to maintain and build on their present position of strength, it does depend on how effectively they acquire effective military force, doesn't it?

East India Company, meet Weyland-Yutani... You do have a talent for thinking up decidedly unpleasant scenarios...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 03:09:04 PM EST
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... but the East India Company ended up handing military power over to the Raj ... I'm not 100% sure how stable that kind of corporate feudalism really is, and in particular how it gains political legitimacy amongst the governed.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 04:03:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You do have a talent for thinking up decidedly unpleasant scenarios...
- Jake
Make that "an informed talent"

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jan 13th, 2009 at 03:45:52 PM EST
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