Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why China Is Kicking Our Ass: New Evidence from Today's New York Times

While perusing the New York Times this morning, I think Monique and I may have identified an opportunity for improvement in our efforts to keep pace with Chinese economic development:

From the China Daily advertorial, page A13, of the Jan. 29, New York Times:

Some 84 projects averaging 2.55 billion yuan ($403 million) each are planned for development within the city limits of Chengdu. Together they are expected to create more than 250,000 jobs for locals.

Please contrast that with this advertisement on page A16, three pages later in the same New York Times:

While China is investing more than $30 billion in manufacturing, high-tech, green energy, and urban development projects in one of their large inland cities, we're tearing up our old railroad tracks and making jewelry out of them.


(For those who have never heard of Chengdu before, it's the capital of Sichuan province in southwestern China.  It's a city of 7.1 million people with a metropolitan area of more than 14 million people, which makes it about 50% larger than the Chicago metropolitan area, the U.S. inland city with which it is sometimes compared.)


  1. China is not exactly kicking our asses. A very large percentage of their population (something like 30% but I forgot exactly) worries about having enough food to eat. Their water is severely polluted and so is their air from all the coal burning plants. Nobody knows exactly what their cancer rate is since they don't exactly live in a free society but it is off the charts in some towns downwind of the coal plants. Not exactly a Utopian paradise.

  2. Now that I think about it, I'll bet the Chinese could totally make cuff links from pieces falling off our highway bridges, then ship them back here to sell for for $2.99 apiece, tops.

    Dagnabbit it, if we lose our "manufacturing jewelry from crumbling infrastructure" advantage over the Chinese, I'm moving to Canada.

  3. Dan, you make a good point. Hardly the environment in which any of us wish to live but definitely the one in which large, multinational manufacturers like to do the heavy work, you know, without all that pesky regulation... All this for slightly cheaper stuff, humm... makes me wonder.