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For some reason I retain a basic optimism as well, at least as to the possibilities. In fact, I believe that the quality of life for all CAN be much better, and that it eventually will be. There remains the questions of how large a human population will remain to enjoy those better conditions and the severity of the process that gets us there and these are hardly trivial concerns.

China's effective working population is only a small fraction of its total, only about 11% currently have the equivalent of a high school education and 57% remain rural. This implies that social policy shifts towards greater support of public education constitutes low hanging fruit. I think that the near term problems in China are more likely to be the result of increasing wages due to quality of life concerns, the possibility of economic disruption due to failure to adequately regulate finance and development and the problems of finding external vent for their manufactured goods, though the switch to domestic growth certainly has strong potential.

Certainly watching current brand new ghost cities develop into thriving, functioning and populated metropolises will be interesting, but China has actual needs for modern housing, so it could be more a problem of matching things up. A major theme could be the increasingly stark contrast between urban and rural living standards, which China is addressing via granting credits to rural Chinese for purchase of appliances such as refrigerators and televisions. But what about opportunities for the children of the rural dwellers?

At least China has gotten the growth rate of its population under control. The same cannot be said for India, which still has relatively rapid population growth, though it too has a rapidly growing economy. Both will be severely challenged by resource constraints, including arable land and adequate water, as well as by the impact of pollution and global warming.

In the end it might be the USA, blessed with abundant arable land and water as well as potential renewable energy resources, that will fare the worst as it fails to successfully oppose a pending murder-suicide on the level of the national society by the current economic elite. We are certainly far advanced into the destruction of the economy and society on the behalf of a blind and/or indifferent financial establishment.

On the bright side, should the USA go into a socio-economic death spiral that should reduce our global footprint in several categories, which could be advantageous to other areas. Or we could manage to pull our heads out of our asses in time to save ourselves. More improbable things have happened.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 04:51:45 PM EST

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