Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Growth talk

Maggie says:
Fascinating tidbits around the web regarding growth:

  • The Times Freakonomics blog offers several thoughtful responses to data that shows more of the globe now living in cities than rural areas, and what implications that shift might contain. Check it out for musings from James Howard Kunstler, Dolores Hayden, and more. Yummy stuff, and varied person-to-person. How Should We Be Thinking About Urbanization?
  • This morning on NPR, Juan Williams reported on a recent trip to China that dug into Chinese fears that U.S. consumers are backing off from Chinese-produced products. The best part of the piece, however, dealt with development in Beijing leading up to the Summer Olympics. Williams quotes a local developer saying that because Beijing has no controls equivalent to U.S. building standards and zoning regulations, developers are making huge profits off the race for made-for-TV modernization in Beijing. In a quest to look the part come summer, Beijing is promoting growth via a municipal structure wherein employees are rated and paid based on how much economic growth comes out of the projects approved in their districts. The mind boggles at the implications there, and of how it would all look crumbling down in a disaster during the Olympics... with the cameras rolling, of course. Yikes. (Bonus: Juan telling his wife to remember to breathe during their visit to the Great Wall because of how thick the pollution was, and wondering how in the world athletes will be able to perform in '08 given the smog, a widespread concern.) China, a Display of Stunning Economic Activity.