December 19, 2011

Big Trouble in China

Paul Krugman wrote an essay in today's New York Times about the housing bubble that is getting ready to burst in China. Regular readers will recall a post in this blog last March entitled China's Ghost Cities, a truly weird piece of video documenting entire cities built in China to keep the construction industry busy, even though there were no people to occupy the apartments or work in the businesses.

Then comes another report from Bloomberg that China is building its own version of New York City, complete with its own Rockefeller and Lincoln Centers and a fake Hudson River. The debt piled up for that project alone exceeds the debt threatening to sink the European Union, some $622 billion

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the residents of Wukan in Guangdong province are locked in a dispute with the local government. Villagers allege that the government illegally sold their land off to developers. A negotiating committee was appointed, but then one of the negotiators died while in police custody. Now the villagers are threatening to stage a march outside the village, a major escalation.

Just three samples of stories unfolding from China these days. It would be one thing if this was all that was going on, but we all know that isn't the case. The world is a house of cards, getting more unstable with each passing day. And all we can do is watch Humpty Dumpty take a great fall.

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