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Well, pretty much sums up my opinion.
However, how pervasive are these views in China?
Is Xue Yong a lone voice lost in a crowd (if you'll excuse the bad pun)?

What about the Chinese überclass (billionaire bosses, party apparatchiks, etc...) that is busy capturing the wealth from our EU überclass and the US one?
Until these people move, nothing will move...

by Bernard on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 03:28:26 PM EST
Bernard: Well, pretty much sums up my opinion.
However, how pervasive are these views in China?

With regards to developed countries having the primary moral responsibility for reducing carbon emissions, that view is very widespread in China.  However, as for what I guessed was Xue Yong's chief message in writing this essay, the point that reducing carbon emissions is in China's own interest, indeed, that China and other developing countries have comparatively far more to benefit from reducing emissions than developed countries, it is not one I have heard put forth or discussed much.  Then again, it's not like I am able to follow the debates very easily in the media (as my Chinese listening and reading skills are still too low), and English-language discussions in China are obviously exceptions restricted to a tiny and atypical minority of the population.

Bernard: Is Xue Yong a lone voice lost in a crowd (if you'll excuse the bad pun)?

What about the Chinese überclass (billionaire bosses, party apparatchiks, etc...) that is busy capturing the wealth from our EU überclass and the US one?
Until these people move, nothing will move...

Actually, as Obama pointed out in his State of the Union speech last month, your Chinese überclass is already moving:

We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century. And yet it is China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient.

e.g.

After setting an original goal of 30 gigawatts of installed wind power by 2020, the government recently said that could be raised to 100 gigawatts as installed capacity has doubled each of the last four years.

From almost nothing a few years ago, China had 12.2 gigawatts of installed wind power by the end of 2008 as power companies have rushed to meet government mandates to raise the proportion of energy they produce from renewable sources.

China wind farms sprout amid 'green' energy push | PhysOrg.com (August 11, 2009)



The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 02:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
marco:
my Chinese listening and reading skills are still too low

Sorry marco, gotta call BS on this one. ;)

What you've produced here requires substantial language skills.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 03:38:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... and a not insignificant amount of time as well.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 03:38:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx: ... and a not insignificant amount of time as well.

And there's the rub.  At the snail's pace that I read Chinese, it is impossible for me to read more than more or less randomly chosen snatches of news and commentary in Chinese language media.  Hopefully, speed and accuracy will improve with practice.

Thanks.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 04:20:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
marco:
Actually, as Obama pointed out in his State of the Union speech last month, your Chinese überclass is already moving

I mean no disrespect to the esteemed President of the United States, but I would hardly consider him as an authoritative reference on China (Chinese wouldn't either, I suppose).

I understand that China is moving decisively into wind energy development, as a potentially lucrative new market, but also as a strategic necessity: as Xue Yong himself is pointing out, China is very much dependent on imported oil and from very few sources, mostly Middle-East. Precisely where the USA has its hands firmly on the spigot (save Iran).

So there are plenty of compelling motives for "going wind" besides emission reduction.

China is quickly becoming one of the most polluted countries on earth, and there is very little motivation for the plutocrats to really harness the issue: it would only cut into their profit.

by Bernard on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 04:06:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernard: So there are plenty of compelling motives for "going wind" besides emission reduction.

That is a good point.  It would be interesting to look at all the specific measures China is taking and the ones it could take but isn't, and to see whether they point to other motivations besides emissions reduction, such as energy security (e.g. reduced reliance on the Straits of Malacca) and economic gains (e.g. "green jobs").  In particular, are there any measures we could look at that could only be motivated by emissions reduction, and that would not contribute much to energy security and/or economic gains?  Maybe more stringent emissions regulations, and more stringent enforcement of such regulations?  Maybe mandatory installation of equipment in industries or residences that filter and/or capture noxious gases (though this, conceivably, might be tainted by an economic motivation to create jobs for the makers and installers of such equipment, assuming they are Chinese)?  Any others?  If we can identify a list of such "purely for emissions reduction" measures, then we can then look into whether the Chinese government is acting on these.

Bernard: China is quickly becoming one of the most polluted countries on earth

I think those photographs (which are amazing and disturbing) are similar to Obama's remarks about China's "moving" on renewable energy: it doesn't prove the point, but it illustrates it vividly.

Bernard: and there is very little motivation for the plutocrats to really harness the issue: it would only cut into their profit.

Which is why China's government has been so aggressive in mandating renewable energy initiatives.  (I assume China's government counts as part of China's "überclass".)  But then again, as noted above, these initiatives may not be motivated by the desire to avoid harm caused by carbon emissions (e.g. massive health crisis, rising sea levels, etc.) but rather in order to increase energy security and to gain economic benefits.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 03:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be interesting to look at all the specific measures China is taking and the ones it could take but isn't, and to see whether they point to other motivations besides emissions reduction, such as energy security (e.g. reduced reliance on the Straits of Malacca) and economic gains (e.g. "green jobs").

I think there is a wrong framing for China's wind investments throughout the whole thread. This would be primarily an issue of emissions reduction if new wind capacityx would replace old capacity, or at least make up the bulk of new additions. However, the reality of the past decade is that China was trying to keep up with rapidly rising demand, and wind still makes up only a small part of the added capacity (not to mention TWh/year actual generation): in 2009, total capacity grew by 70 GW vs 2008. I find no breakdown of the non-wind part for this, but 71.5 GW out of the 92.5 GW increase from 2006 to 2007 was thermal plants according to EIA tables.

So I think increasing capacity by whatever means is the main motivation. Which is not to say that going cleaner is just PR; China is also closing small old coal plants to the tune of gigawatts.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:22:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Chinese überclass (billionaire bosses, party apparatchiks, etc...) that is busy capturing the wealth from our EU überclass and the US one?

I think all of these überclasses are busily helping each other capture wealth from everybody else...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 09:03:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
überclasses are always those that are the most ready to embrace having relations around the world and actually caring little about nations...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 10:13:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
linca: überclasses are always those that are the most ready to embrace having relations around the world and actually caring little about nations...

someone needs to edit Wikipedia's entry on Poverty in China so that it accurately describes how little China's überclasses care about their nation:

China's sustained growth fueled historically unprecedented poverty reduction. The World Bank uses a poverty line based on household real consumption (including consumption of own-produced crops and other goods), set at $1 per day measured at Purchasing Power Parity. In most low-income countries this amount is sufficient to guarantee each person about 2000 calories of nutrition  per day, plus other basic necessities. In 2007, this line corresponds to about 900 RMB per year. Based on household surveys, the poverty rate in China in 1981 was 64% of the population. This rate declined to 10% in 2004, indicating that about 500 million people have climbed out of poverty during this period.[4]

This poverty reduction has occurred in waves. The shift to the household responsibility system propelled a large increase in agricultural output, and poverty was cut in half over the short period from 1981 to 1987. From 1987 to 1993 poverty reduction stagnated, then resumed again. From 1996 to 2001 there was once more relatively little poverty reduction. Since China joined the WTO in 2001, however, poverty reduction resumed at a very rapid rate, and poverty was cut by a third in just three years.[5]



The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 11:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Next paragraph :

Poverty in China - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

China's growth has been so rapid that virtually every household has benefited significantly, fueling the steep drop in poverty. However, different people have benefited to very different extents, so that inequality has risen during the reform period. This is true for inequality in household income or consumption, as well as for inequality in important social outcomes such as health status or educational attainment. Concerning household consumption, the Gini measure of inequality increased from 0.31 at the beginning of reform to 0.45 in 2004. To some extent this rise in inequality is the natural result of the market forces that have generated the strong growth; but to some extent it is "artificial" in the sense that various government policies exacerbate the tendencies toward higher inequality, rather than mitigate them. Changes to some policies could halt or even reverse the increasing inequality.[6] (See List of countries by income equality.)

Absolute poverty down, Relative poverty up...

And anyway my point is not about caring about one own's nation, but caring about nations as limits where one is supposed to live and act. International careers, international education, international vacations, international friendships... are statistical sociological symptoms of the "überclass".


Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 12:01:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
linca:
International careers, international education, international vacations, international friendships... are statistical sociological symptoms of the "überclass".

That could apply to many of us as well...
by Bernard on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 02:37:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See Jerome's So, how large is the global plutocratic class? from January 2, 2010; and also this Salon thread started by Helen.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 05:12:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
linca: And anyway my point is not about caring about one own's nation, but caring about nations as limits where one is supposed to live and act. International careers, international education, international vacations, international friendships... are statistical sociological symptoms of the "überclass".

Sorry for my misunderstanding.

The "überclass" (as I think we are using the term here) may be pathological in some ways, but failing to 'care about nations as limits where one is supposed to live and act' surely is not one of them, right?  (This question is separate from the question of to what degree the Chinese "überclass" has these traits.)

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 02:56:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it becomes a failure when one doesn't care about limits where oneself may live, but doesn't hesitate to impose limits on others. Think about Sarkozy, son of an immigrant, married to a foreigner, or Besson, whose current girlfriend is a young Tunisian girl - and yet try to impose policies that would make such lives difficult. The aristocracy is never the last to publicly use the language of nationalism.

I don't know about the Chinese uberclass, but in Vietnam it does seem that the children of apparatchiks routinely study abroad...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 06:52:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Think about Sarkozy, son of an immigrant

Son of two immigrants.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand your accusation that Sarkozy and Fillon may be hypocritical when not 'caring about nations as limits where one is supposed to live and act' when it suits them while denying it to others.  (Though I do not necessarily agree that the accusation is valid:  Did Sarkozy's parents immigrate to France illegally?  Did Fillon's Tunisian girlfriend immigrate to France illegally?)

But where is the hypocrisy in children of Chinese 'apparatchiks' studying abroad?

More generally, however, I'm afraid I cannot follow how this ties back to Chinese efforts to implement clean energy and energy efficiency policies.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:38:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
where is the hypocrisy in children of Chinese 'apparatchiks' studying abroad?

Shouldn't the apparatchiks ensuring you can get a decent education in China?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: Shouldn't the apparatchiks ensuring you can get a decent education in China?

You mean you can't?

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:56:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If they send their own children abroad, then they believe you can't.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:03:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And we're not talking about spending some time abroad as part of one's education. We're talking oligarchs sending their children to boarding schools in England (so to speak) for basic education.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that Western university education of second-generation technocrats contributed to the transition from planned economy to capitalism in the formerly 'communist new EU members (which began about a decade before the end of 'communism', say when they asked for Western credits and joined the IMF).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:13:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would guess in the case of EU member states the hypocrisy is more likely to take the form of a minister of education sending their children to a local private school.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:22:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that won't have an effect on the econo-ideologial outlook of future technocrats, or would it?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 09:46:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, but it will. It protects them from the visceral realisation that some people are poor for systemic reasons (or just because they are poor), rather than from innate personal flaws.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 7th, 2010 at 12:20:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo: If they send their own children abroad, then they believe you can't.

That's one possible explanation.  It would imply that those parents believed Vietnamese universities to provide superior education than Chinese universities.  That's also possible.

Another possibility is that those parents had some personal or professional connection to Vietnam and wanted their children to be exposed to that country.  Another possibility is that they wanted their children to have an international university experience in whatever country they could.  Another possibility is that the students themselves wanted to have an international university experience.  Another possibility is that those students did not get accepted into a Chinese university that they (or their parents) deemed prestigious enough, and felt that going to school overseas would be a better option than going to a less prestigious school.  (This last explanation was the case with a Beijing woman I know who is the daughter of a very powerful "apparatchik": she was not able to enter any of the three art schools she wanted to go to in China, so she went to study design in England.)

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:21:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another possibility is that you're getting out of your way to rationalise innocent intentions into the behaviour of apparatchiks.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:30:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: Another possibility is that you're getting out of your way to rationalise innocent intentions into the behaviour of apparatchiks.

Do you have any evidence you would like to offer that most Chinese "apparatchiks" whose children study outside of China send or allow their children to do so because they believe they can't get a decent education in China?  Or are you satisfied to favor this particular explanation based (as far as I can tell) on pure speculation?  Also, do you happen to have data on what percentage of Chinese "apparatchiks"' children study overseas?

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:51:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
are you satisfied to favor this particular explanation based (as far as I can tell) on pure speculation?

I guess I am. But I don't believe the Chinese are less hypocritical than others - they're human, too. And the phenomenon of people educated in public education (or even in charge of public education) who send their children to private education at home or abroad is too pervasive to ignore and, yes, it is hypocritical.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 09:05:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My wording was clumsy: what I meant is that the Chinese plutocrats are as busy as their EU/US counterparts capturing as much of the wealth as they can, but it doesn't mean their goal is to make the Western billionaires richer: as E.Todd pointed out, they also want to grab wealth from them, using the lure of millions of underpaid workers and a supposedly immense domestic market created by an emerging middle class (underpaid too, to keep it cost competitive).

You ain't really "rich" if your enrichment also makes other people richer. As Dogbert said: "There's one thing about us, rich people: we don't like company."

by Bernard on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 04:21:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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