Size Matters

Beijing has more modern architecture than perhaps any other city and more of it is going up every day.  Judging by the buildings you would think China is a rich country and it is but China is a rich country composed of poor people.  What China loses in per-capita terms it makes up for in volume.  We are used to thinking of total and per-capita wealth as highly correlated – the EU and the United States being key examples.  We need to rethink some issues such as inequality, power and foreign policy when they are not so correlated.

By the way, the architecture is great but hard to see!  Visibility is limited to 3 or 4 blocks after which everything is a grey haze.  I haven’t seen the sun for days. 

Also, I found a way to access Marginal Revolution using an anonymizer.  This is good since the thought that one billion could not access the wisdom at MR was deeply disturbing.

Comments

Alex,

It's like the concept of "free energy" in physics. What's relevant here is the amount of extra money floating around that can be used to fund such stuff. I think that expectations are relevant here too: when a country is growing fast, there's more uncommitted money lying around and more of a sense that such projects can be afforded.

Also, the difference between total and per-capita wealth is not new. This is the kind of issue that European statesmen had to consider with respect to Russia in the 1800s and early 1900s, that it was a large but not rich country.

"You might want to wait on that statement until you get to Shanghai, where Pudong has gone from rice paddy to Blade Runner."

Completely true.

Alex,

That's funny. I said the same thing in China a year ago today, and Tyler even linked to it:

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2007/06/china_journal_e.html

Hope you're having fun,

jb

Doesn't China block access to anonymizers too?

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