24 April 2011
China’s high speed train wreck
Brian Micklethwait

Here.  Reading the whole thing is much recommended.

Money quote:

This month, I rode the bullet train from Beijing to Tianjin in half an hour - then returned by bus, which took two hours. Next to me on the decrepit, but packed, vehicle was a 17-year-old girl migrating to Beijing to search for work. She had never heard of the high-speed train, but when informed it cost $9, as opposed to $5.40 for the bus, expressed no regret at missing it. The bus driver assured me the girl was typical of his working-class clientele; to them, even a little money is more valuable than a lot of time. Small wonder that the Beijing-Tianjin line, built at a cost of $46 million per mile, is losing more than $100 million per year.

A mobile version of all those overpriced apartments and shopping malls, in other words.

The state of the world is now such that, if you want to be optimistic about your own country, don’t whatever you do look at your own country.  Look at all the others.

Happy Easter.

  1. “All media are not to report or hype the news that Liu Zhijun had 18 mistresses.”



    Posted by Michael Jennings on  25 April 2011 at 02:10 am

  2. Yes, I was just about to add that stuff to the original posting.  Classic, isn’t it?

    I love that the Chinese government issues a list of everything that you MUST NOT report.  Like Volokh says, it’s like the Drudge of China.

    Posted by Brian Micklethwait on  25 April 2011 at 03:47 am

  3. There is a moment in bubbles when they start spitting out batshit crazy stories of excess. You think that the end must be nigh, and that is what I am thinking now. (However, some of them manage to continue for a surprising time after that). That’s a reference to the trains, not the authoritarian crap, which has been there all along. I suspect that it will make the ultimate outcome worse, thouh.

    Posted by Michael Jennings on  25 April 2011 at 02:09 pm

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