Saturday, July 11, 2009


Just What We Need: More Consumers

With all the miracle disease cures coming on line these days, you’d think someone would have come up with a cure for stupid disease by now, but its virus continues to mutate into more deadly forms and plague humanity. Not that it’s hard to find examples, but here is one that really caught my eye. An article titled China mulls urbanization of 140m migrant workers informs us that the Chinese government would like to speed up urbanization and make consumers out of migrant workers. They will spend spend spend, and the economy will really grow. The article quotes an official who says:
“There are 140 million migrant workers nationwide, and that figure can increase to 300 million, taking their families into account. If these people can afford to buy or rent an apartment to settle down in cities, the potential for expanding consumption is huge.” (Emphasis mine)
Wow! He’s not just whistling Dixie. That would indeed be a lot of consumption. I’ll leave it to the reader to imagine what economic and environmental impacts all that added consumption would have. Which is not to say that all those Chinese migrant workers don’t deserve to attain the same level of consumption as people in the developed countries. But in light of reality, it’s stupid to say this. Then there is the matter of urban infrastructure. Roads, power lines, water and sewage pipes, and the like, plus urban services like trash collection. Since infrastructure is already crumbling in the developed countries due to lack of cheap energy, there’s no hope of ever building and maintaining so much more of it.

But unfortunately, stupid disease blinds people to reality and makes them say the stupidest things.

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