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Old 12-11-2009, 02:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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China's empty city

YouTube - China's empty city - 10 Nov 09

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Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan reports from Inner Mongolia, where a whole town built with government money is standing empty.
I want to know why does Homo Sapiens (in the year 2009) builds cities and leaves them empty. There are enough people who need some real shelter. I don't want answers like "the information on some hard disk in some dungeon - says that people cannot use the city they built" or "they play a complex game, and they are low on their important numbers!".

This is "Homo Sapiens" not some monkey ? Is he ? With his "superior intellect" he should overcome the numbers on the hard disk...

Something else about China here : Amazing Pictures, Pollution in China | ChinaHush
All that and for what ?
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I would chalk this up to growing pains. Odd things can happen when you have a sustained double-digit economic expansion (and 8% growth during a global economic recession).

I imagine even odder things would have occurred if the U.S. or some other developed nation had this kind of expansion over the past several years. Civil engineering coupled with billions of dollars can produce wild things. Look at Dubai.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Growing pains ?
Utopia Postponed - Ascent of Humanity

One day people will wake up. They will call this: "the age of total insanity". Want to say that other industrial nations - had the same problems once ? And how "good" they are now ? People are still slaves to the machine. Development - destruction. In some places people just live. No holidays or workdays, just life. Until someone decides to help them develop, and soon they are working like crazy to survive. In some death factory. The resources are not infinite. New inventions will not save us. Not even free electricity, using some magic reactor.

http://www.primitivism.com/facets-myth.htm
Quote:
"I can remember vividly sitting at the dinner table arguing with my father about progress, using upon him all the experience and wisdom I had gathered at the age of fifteen. Of course we live in an era of progress, I said, just look at cars -- how clumsy and unreliable and slow they were in the old days, how sleek and efficient and speedy they are now.

He raised an eyebrow, just a little. And what has been the result of having all these wonderful new sleek and efficient and speedy cars? he asked. I was taken aback. I searched for a way to answer. He went on.
How many people die each year as a result of these speedy cars, how many are maimed and crippled? What is life like for the people who produce them, on those famous assembly lines, the same routinized job hour after hour, day after day, like Chaplin's film? How many fields and forests and even towns and villages have been paved over so that these cars can get to all the places they want to get to -- and park there? Where does all the gasoline come from, and at what cost, and what happens when we burn it and exhaust it?

Before I could stammer out a response -- thankfully -- he went on to tell me about an article written on the subject of progress, a concept I had never really thought of, by one of his Cornell colleagues, the historian Carl Becker, a man I had never heard of, in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, a resource I had never come across. Read it, he said."
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Last edited by pai mei; 12-11-2009 at 06:21 AM..
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Why do I get the subtle feeling we're no longer talking about unused government-built buildings in a particular Chinese city?
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Because pai mei's convinced that the future of humanity lies in a return to tribalism and a reclamation of the "noble savage" concept.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I thought so.

Maybe he's waiting for the altruistic utopian paradise.

I'm not holding my breath. I'm going to work with what we've got.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Reminds me of the ghost towns of the American "wild west". Development waxes and wanes all the time. The only difference between China's ghost towns and the wild west is the technology available to create them (that and a centralized economy willing to build it so they will come).
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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We're talking about whatever we want. I myself am writing whatever I want - you do the same. Everything is connected. Cannot limit the discussion. How can you talk about a part of the Universe - and disconnect if from everything else, like nothing has influence on it. If we do that - it's simple : houses have a price, people have no money, end, go back to sleep, no discussion needed.


Explain this :
Quote:
"The Pawnee : they were a well-disciplined people, maintaining public order under many trying circumstances. And yet they had none of the power mechanisms that we consider essential to a well-ordered life. No orders were ever issued...Time after time I tried to find a case of orders given and there were none. Gradually I began to realize that democracy is a very personal thing which like charity, begins at home. Basically it means not being coerced and having no need to coerce anyone else. The Pawnee learned this way of living in the earliest beginning of his life. In the detailed events of every day as a child, he began his development as a disciplined and free man or as a women who felt her dignity and her independence to be inviolate"

---

"The Creeks are just honest, liberal and hospitable to strangers; considerate, loving and affectionate to their wives and relations; fond of their children; industrious, frugal, temperate and persevering; charitable and forbearing. I have been weeks and months among them and in their towns, and never observed the least sign of contention or wrangling: never saw an instance of and Indian beating his wife, or even reproving her in anger. In this case they stand as examples of reproof to the most civilized nations . . . for indeed their wives merit their esteem and the most gentle treatment, they being industrious, frugal, loving and affectionate . . .Their internal police and family economy. . .incontrovertibly place those people in an illustrious point of view: their liberality, intimacy and friendly intercourse with one another, without any restraint of ceremonious formality; as if they were even insensible of the use of necessity of associating the passions of affections of avarice, ambition or covetousness. . . How are we to account for their excellent policy in civil government; it cannot derive its influence from coercive laws, for they have no such artificial system."
Amazon.com: Columbus and Other Cannibals (9781583227817): Jack D. Forbes: Books Amazon.com: Columbus and Other Cannibals (9781583227817): Jack D. Forbes: Books

You don't need super humans - to form that society. You need free people. They seek community and freedom, the tribe maintains itself. They are not crazy to build stuff, then leave it empty - because they have some numbers written somewhere, and the numbers are not big enough. Must make them big ! Destroy more, buy more !
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I retract what I said.

Stimulus is important but it has to be the right stimulus. Infrastructure projects like roads, railways, bridges, Internet, etc. are all good projects. They are the foundation upon which an economy can flourish.

Buildings can be good as well but only if there is a demand.

Making a city from scratch seems pointless if the demand is not there. Connecting the cities you already have or improving the cities you already have with better internal infrastructures (parks, recreation, arts, museums) makes a lot more sense.
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I wonder if I can make some low ball offers on Chinese real estate?
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:05 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pai mei View Post
I want to know why does Homo Sapiens (in the year 2009) builds cities and leaves them empty. There are enough people who need some real shelter. I don't want answers like "the information on some hard disk in some dungeon - says that people cannot use the city they built" or "they play a complex game, and they are low on their important numbers!".[/b]
I honestly have no clue what your last two sentences mean. I have a very hard time understanding your posts.

However, regarding the empty city: I'm pretty liberal, but it is clear even to me that this city is a perfect example of why centralized economies are a terrible idea. If a government decides to build a city from scratch, but screws up because nobody actually wants to live there, then huge amounts of money, time, and effort are wasted. Resources that could have gone to other needy areas are diverted needlessly.

Now obviously something similar can happen on a smaller scale in a market economy (see: Florida, Arizona, SoCal, etc.). But these phantom communities would never have come into existence if our financial services sector was properly regulated - while the Chinese ghost city was actually part of the government plan. Which, uh, leads me back to my original point of centralized economies being terrible.
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:42 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy44 View Post
Now obviously something similar can happen on a smaller scale in a market economy (see: Florida, Arizona, SoCal, etc.). But these phantom communities would never have come into existence if our financial services sector was properly regulated - while the Chinese ghost city was actually part of the government plan. Which, uh, leads me back to my original point of centralized economies being terrible.
But where do you find the balance between centralized economies and regulation?

We should probably use more accurate language to avoid confusion: what China does is more closely defined as a "command" economy, which is characteristic of communism. The government decides how capital is spent (with some exceptions).

A "centralized" economy can mean many things. In Canada, we have built a "strong central government." This is more akin to federalism than communism, and this is where regulation comes in play.

I'm not sure if you've been paying attention, but Canada's major banks for the most part have remained profitable throughout the global financial meltdown and recession--actually, they're making record profits. Just recently they've started to announce bonuses to executives and capital/finance departments, and yet no one is crying foul. This is because not one of them received a penny in bailout money. There was no need. The banking industry is well-regulated, and domestic and foreign commentators alike are beginning to suggest that our system should be a model to the world.

In China's case, I really think it's an odd combination of a command economy with rampant growth. We don't have many examples of this in recent years, and so when we hear of such things as cities being built and not used, we get a bit confused as to how that happens. But I'm sure other cultures don't understand how we can use other people's money to live above our means.

Is it a bad thing? Sort of, but not really. The land might eventually get used. But it might be a waste when all is said and done. Who knows?

Capitalism is known for wasteful outcomes as well. We just need to look at our disposable society.
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Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 12-13-2009 at 10:47 AM..
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
But where do you find the balance between centralized economies and regulation?
I agree - this is the basic question facing our government. I tried to imply in my post that the problem isn't confined just to China's economy, as even here in the U.S. you had these giant communities built up on spec that nobody moved to. And that the key to fixing this is to have proper regulation. Obviously, figuring out what that is is the $64,000 question.

Also, you are correct that the Chinese have a "command" economy more than a "centralized" economy now. My error.
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Old 12-15-2009, 05:18 AM   #14 (permalink)
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guy44 the numbers I am talking about - money. Yes they are just numbers. And 90% of them are electronic money - they are on some hard disk in a dungeon. People have not enough of these numbers - so they build cities and leave them empty. Slaves.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:25 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pai mei View Post
: houses have a price, people have no money, end, go back to sleep, no discussion needed.

Um. The country in question is China. The China of a strong centralized communist government and economical structure. The country where edicts are carried out by the fiat of government bureaucrats and party leaders without consideration of typical economic supply and demand reactions.

Your "simple" statement is a fail in this type of environment. Who know's what they were thinking when this city was built? What is certain is that it takes more than 12 months to build a city, and prior to 12 months ago the global economic recession was much more in its infancy. Perhaps they were planning ahead and got caught?
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I don't care what "environment" they are in. It's all maintained by sheep - people with guns, obeying because they are afraid. It's maintained by force - you will find that force, in the end after you try all forms of protest, the force (made up of frightened slaves) will reveal itself and say "I am powerful, you obey". This is "civilization".

"This is madness !" Don't answer "This is Sparta". It's not.
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:56 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pai mei View Post
I don't care what "environment" they are in.
And that's why this discussion is impossible to have. You refuse to even examine any argument that doesn't line up with your preconceived notions.

I'm quite happy in civilization and no one is forcing me to stay here. And most Chinese (especially the ethnic Han) are intensely proud of the civilization they've built over the past 5000 years. I think that even the most dedicated Chinese dissidents would reject your theories out of hand.
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:38 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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...but was it built for a segway?
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:11 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:10 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:35 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Let's not get too carried away in this thread. Ordos City's issue isn't that it's empty; it's that it has a severely underused district built by the government. The population of the city is 1.5 million.

I was reading recently how the average savings rate in China is 30%. Compare that to North America, which is at...I don't know, around 0%, if it's not negative by now.

Plus the Chinese government has recently moved toward measures to cool off the economy in fear of it being too overheated (surprised?).

Some are predicting a bubble, sure, but others are saying that it can be avoided if China plays its cards right.
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