Potemkin Metropolis

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A few days ago, reader Jim Woods responded to my post about the Chinese housing bubble by pointing out an incredible YouTube video by Journeyman Pictures on huge, modern, and mostly empty cities being built in China to provide "investment" opportunities. I unfortunately can't embed the video here, and it is a good fifteen minutes long, but I can't recommend it highly enough.

In one of the most ironic moments of documentary film-making I have ever witnessed, a couple living in a Beijing slum about to be razed for yet another luxury development is frustrated about being unable to afford their own home. "The government needs to intervene," the husband says at one point.

Sadly, a man in a later interview notes the possibility of a Marxist type of uprising if the situation continues. This is both exactly what you'd expect of a populace steeped from childhood in the idea that government appropriation of property is a legitimate (and practical) solution to basically everything, and precisely the last thing China needs.

--- In Other News ---

I think the comparison is between apples and oranges (sorry!) in the sense that Apple is a primarily a hardware company and Google is primarily a service company, but Jesse Brown makes good points in his argument that Google is the more revolutionary company.

David Letterman shows us how to respond to an Islamist death threat. (via Amy Peikoff)

Does Rick Perry believe any of his rhetoric? Christopher Hitchens asks this question explicitly regarding his religious positions, and I wonder the same thing about Perry's oft-supposed fiscal conservatism after learning of his past praise of Hillary Clinton's efforts to further socialize medicine. So what if this letter was written before all the details of the plan came out? I regard it as revealing that his tack was not to question her approach, but to lobby for his particular pressure groups.

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