Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What a Difference Free Markets Make

They are not completely free, yet, in China, but look what the Chinese have been able to do with the freedom that has been given to them. This is Shanghai 1990 and Shanghai 2010. Both pictures are taken from the same vantage point.



  1. Call me skeptical, but it's difficult to believe there's a sign 20 stories tall containing western letters that says "I [heart] SH".

  2. Yeah, and Obama said:

    "Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They're investing in research and new technologies."

    So you see, China spent the 50 years after WWII dirt poor with little progress because they were skimping on Government funded education and research. Once they realized that a little more spending on education would make them wealthy, well their central plan economy just took off.

  3. They arent at all "free." That city was built by slaves.

    Watch a movie called "Manufactured Landscapes." On the surface it is presented as an eco-message depicting the enviornmental damage of heavy industry, but beneath that there is an even darker image of neo-human chattel slavery.

    The fact that we do business with them is revolting.

  4. Is this in praise of easy credit?

  5. I'll take the 1990 version any day. Green open space, clear skies, residential neighborhoods.
    The 'after' -- yeech-- neon, high rises and smog.

  6. According to Mark Thornton (, skyscrapers are not an indicator of a healthy economy but of a manipulated one which is about to bust. I don't recall exactly, but his theory was about skyscrapers which become profitable when land prices are made artificially high by the central bank.

  7. Looks like a "BUBBLE" to me, typical mal-investment by keynsian loonatics.

  8. Hmmm...

    I agree with Anonymous...
    The "After" isn't necessarily better.
    But at least Shanghai is for real.

    I'd like to see one of those Potemkin villages that are simply facades..

  9. Bob English,

    That's the aurora building. It has a giant video screen projection on the front. Very easily could be real. They put anything on there.

    Shanghai is a bubble, but probably not one of the bigger ones actually.

  10. It is a strange aesthetic that likes a more modest city "for" the people of the PRC. Just remember that in 1990 GDP was probably less than New York and probably many thousands of citizens died every day for want of about ninety five cents worth of aintibiotics. There was no money, manufacturing system, distribution system, trained doctors, etc.; for the vast majority of the population it was subsistance agriculture.

    As for the prosperty coming from slave labor, I don't doubt slave-like labor exists now in the PRC and it existed in 1990. All Communist governments required people to work, you needed an excuse from a doctor to escape labor. It is just that central planned economy could not squeeze out any prosperity even when the public was required to work. Most of the value added to the Chinese economy is noy gained by the low wages or the forced labor but by liberalization, trade, quasi-private property and individual initiative.

  11. Lila Rejiva and Anonymous you guys should move out to Africa, there's plenty open space around here with no skyscrapers. But don't think you're going to find groceries, ipods, tvs, hospitals here either...

  12. Thanks, myself and TanGeng. Looks like someone hearts SH in a big way.

  13. Yes, good to see they decimated a park in favour of skyscrapers!

  14. @Chris

    I don't know Anonymous. I simply agreed with him/her that the "after" isn't AUTOMATICALLY better because of the presence of skyscrapers in it.

    Please note - I never said I didn't like skyscrapers....

    Repeat: I said they aren't "necessarily" better.

    Two different things...

    And put that way, it's not the same as Luddism, is it?

    Modernity and technology can exist without some types of architecture, even if one were to admit to a dislike of skyscrapers (which I don't).

    My point was about Potemkin villages...something I explicitly said Shanghai wasn't.

    I was thinking more of a famous thesis about skyscrapers always being the result of bubbles...

    Too bad that people don't seem to actually read what other people write. They seem to prefer to read "into" what other people write.