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China: 60 Minutes Sunday

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  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    Did anyone else see this show yesterday? Chinese real estate multi-billionaire Zhang Xin was featured, and a very interesting interview with Leslie Stahl revealed that the people in China want DEMOCRACY more than any other imaginable thing. A most interesting statement, but I was more interested in what followed, also about China. The story continued, showing numerous areas all across the country where WHOLE CITIES, major metropolises with skyscrapers, railways, hotels, condominiums, restaurants, highways, etc. were all newly constructed, BUT no one was living in them. I am not exaggerating, there were at least 7 or 8 of these vacant cities with most of the construction completed, but some were shown with the construction riggings and equipment still there, not yet finished. The reason behind this was the Chinese government, not individual companies, used its money to finance all this development, in order to build-up the economy and employment, but now they have stopped because they realize that there are not enough people with the money to actually live in these cities. Can you believe a government could/would be so stupid? There is no telling how many dollars, probably in the trillions, were used to falsely inflate the country's growth, and now they can only wait for the bubble to burst when all that money is realized as waste? So let me express my fear of what might happen. Let's say they find themselves in the situation where they have to just swallow the pill and realize this humongous loss. Will they then come after the U.S. for the payment of what we owe them, and not just the interest? Lord help us if they do.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    I saw it and couldn't believe it! Whole empty cities with malls, apartments, condos, unbelieveable! And the so called middle class "investors" keep buying more and more of it.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    michaels39301 Wrote: Did anyone else see this show yesterday? Chinese real estate multi-billionaire Zhang Xin was featured, and a very interesting interview with Leslie Stahl revealed that the people in China want DEMOCRACY more than any other imaginable thing. A most interesting statement, but I was more interested in what followed, also about China. The story continued, showing numerous areas all across the country where WHOLE CITIES, major metropolises with skyscrapers, railways, hotels, condominiums, restaurants, highways, etc. were all newly constructed, BUT no one was living in them. I am not exaggerating, there were at least 7 or 8 of these vacant cities with most of the construction completed, but some were shown with the construction riggings and equipment still there, not yet finished. The reason behind this was the Chinese government, not individual companies, used its money to finance all this development, in order to build-up the economy and employment, but now they have stopped because they realize that there are not enough people with the money to actually live in these cities. Can you believe a government could/would be so stupid? There is no telling how many dollars, probably in the trillions, were used to falsely inflate the country's growth, and now they can only wait for the bubble to burst when all that money is realized as waste? So let me express my fear of what might happen. Let's say they find themselves in the situation where they have to just swallow the pill and realize this humongous loss. Will they then come after the U.S. for the payment of what we owe them, and not just the interest? Lord help us if they do.
    I agree that it was quite an interesting episode. How a country can build entire cities when the vast majority of their population is poor and in no way able to afford city life is beyond my understanding, but I would venture a few guesses as to what they are doing. One, I think they see that they have a billion people and were forecasting never ending growth when a good chunk of these cities were being constructed. I would guess that these cities were well into their development before the crash of 2008 and the Chinese found themselves in a bit of a bind with regards to finishing them or not.

    The Chinese and American economies are so intertwined that the Chinese would never demand all of the money that we owe them or else both countries will have major turmoil, but my guess is that America would be able to dig her way out of it. I'm not so sure about the Chinese being able to do the same if they decide to start a debt war with us. They know we can't pay it back right now and we know they need the American corporate interests that are stationed in their country. My guess as to what will happen is that these cities will just stay ghost cities for now until they figure out what to do with them.

    The Chinese have a LOT of problems on their hands right now and these next ten to twenty years will be interesting to see if they emerge as a true world power on par with America or if their sheer size and population demands keep them from that. They have a billion people that they have to look after, with the vast majority of them being dirt poor. Until that issue is addressed, they will continue to have empty cities.
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    I sure agree jared, and my main concern IF things happen the way you suggest is that vacant cities for 10 or 20 years will only result in ruination. Try it yourself, build something new on a vacant lot, and leave it to the elements for 10 or 20 years. Nothing will be as good as new, in the end. Or buy a new car and let it sit for 10 or 20 years, it might start, with a new battery, but time and the elements can certainly do some significant harm. Another way of looking at it is this: Say that new car sat for 20 years and you started it with a new battery. What would its retail value be as compared to 20 years ago? I think the same can be said for China's construction.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Your concerns are certainly justifiable and I would not be surprised if some of what you fear happens. If they are not able to fill the cities in a reasonable time, they would be destined to fall into disrepair. Like you said, you can't buy a car and let it sit for 10 years. The decisions that the Chinese government makes in the near term will determine if this winds up positively or negatively.

    On the other hand, I certainly believe that the Chinese have far more to worry about than ghost cities. The upcoming water crisis will dwarf the oil wars of the late 20th and early 21st Century. A crisis is destined to happen sooner or later when a country has a billion mouths to feed and only so much fresh water remaining on this planet. Our only hope on that front is if science can ever find a cost efficient way to convert salt water into drinkable water. I believe they will eventually, but they are nowhere near that capacity to convert huge sums of ocean water into drinkable water at this point in time. The issue of fresh water will, in my opinion, prove if human kind will be able to join together for our survival or if we divide into an all out war where the strong nations survive and the weak nations fall.
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    That certainly would be a fantastic and earth-shattering invention, and one I certainly hope the human race can achieve. I wonder if anyone is working on that as we speak and how far along they might be.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    "michaels" Yeah I knew about that; it is still part of a communistic culture like they did in Russia as well. However looking at this picture versus the US, maybe we are not building at random, but spending it instead on wars and F35 programs. Is this not just about the same waste? So in other words "The kettle calls the frying pan black" whatever. So let's get our own house in order, then may be we can beat the Chinese.
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    I think the Chinese got snookered. It was reasonable to assume that all that manufacturing was going to result in a huge influx of middle income folks. But an odd thing has happened. The ones who shipped our jobs to China because they hated our middle class didn't want China to have one either. So Chinese factory workers are dirt poor and can't go to the fancy mall even though it is twice the size of the Mall Of America. To keep the growth going they me forced to build more warships, tanks and planes. Or they could get our help to change business rules to end the greed that is ruining both countries.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    jaredsxtn Wrote: Your concerns are certainly justifiable and I would not be surprised if some of what you fear happens. If they are not able to fill the cities in a reasonable time, they would be destined to fall into disrepair. Like you said, you can't buy a car and let it sit for 10 years. The decisions that the Chinese government makes in the near term will determine if this winds up positively or negatively.

    On the other hand, I certainly believe that the Chinese have far more to worry about than ghost cities. The upcoming water crisis will dwarf the oil wars of the late 20th and early 21st Century. A crisis is destined to happen sooner or later when a country has a billion mouths to feed and only so much fresh water remaining on this planet. Our only hope on that front is if science can ever find a cost efficient way to convert salt water into drinkable water. I believe they will eventually, but they are nowhere near that capacity to convert huge sums of ocean water into drinkable water at this point in time. The issue of fresh water will, in my opinion, prove if human kind will be able to join together for our survival or if we divide into an all out war where the strong nations survive and the weak nations fall.
    Jaredsxtn,
    I recently saw a show on I believe the history channel (I watch a lot of TV)... It spoke of the "value" of everything on earth. The last topic was fresh water. They spoke of all of the known water sources. What they spoke of that surprised me was the vast amounts of fresh water that is under ground. Hopefully that will keep everybody hydrated going forward.
  • Independent
    Plymouth, WI
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    michaels39301 Wrote: That certainly would be a fantastic and earth-shattering invention, and one I certainly hope the human race can achieve. I wonder if anyone is working on that as we speak and how far along they might be.
    Salt water can be converted to fresh water cheaply using solar power, but because our government is against solar and for oil, it won't be happening soon. Sure we have fresh water underground, but every time it rains, the air is cleaned and the wash water ends up in our drinking water. Under ground water or not, as long as we let coal and oil burn out of control, we will run out of fresh water period. At the rate we are going, I don't think China will have to worry about filling empty cities; the Chinese are dropping like flies from air pollution, their number one killer, since they have no pollution standards when they make our cheap products. No pollution standards are another reason China can make the cheap products we buy at Wall Mart cheaper.
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    jaredsxtn Wrote: Your concerns are certainly justifiable and I would not be surprised if some of what you fear happens. If they are not able to fill the cities in a reasonable time, they would be destined to fall into disrepair. Like you said, you can't buy a car and let it sit for 10 years. The decisions that the Chinese government makes in the near term will determine if this winds up positively or negatively.

    On the other hand, I certainly believe that the Chinese have far more to worry about than ghost cities. The upcoming water crisis will dwarf the oil wars of the late 20th and early 21st Century. A crisis is destined to happen sooner or later when a country has a billion mouths to feed and only so much fresh water remaining on this planet. Our only hope on that front is if science can ever find a cost efficient way to convert salt water into drinkable water. I believe they will eventually, but they are nowhere near that capacity to convert huge sums of ocean water into drinkable water at this point in time. The issue of fresh water will, in my opinion, prove if human kind will be able to join together for our survival or if we divide into an all out war where the strong nations survive and the weak nations fall.
    hey jared, I found some interesting sites about water purification, both sea water and polluted water. There are specific examples of this working, or approved to be installed, and it is interesting reading. Try this: http://www.hoh.com/07_sektorer/swro.htm In California, here is a specific example: http://www.scpr.org/news/2012/02/10/31198/future-california-plant-would-convert.../