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Mon Jun 17, 2013, 10:46 AM

China’s Great Uprooting: Moving 250 Million Into Cities

The government, often by fiat, is replacing small rural homes with high-rises, paving over vast swaths of farmland and drastically altering the lives of rural dwellers. So large is the scale that the number of brand-new Chinese city dwellers will approach the total urban population of the United States — in a country already bursting with megacities.

This will decisively change the character of China, where the Communist Party insisted for decades that most peasants, even those working in cities, remain tied to their tiny plots of land to ensure political and economic stability. Now, the party has shifted priorities, mainly to find a new source of growth for a slowing economy that depends increasingly on a consuming class of city dwellers.

The shift is occurring so quickly, and the potential costs are so high, that some fear rural China is once again the site of radical social engineering. Over the past decades, the Communist Party has flip-flopped on peasants’ rights to use land: giving small plots to farm during 1950s land reform, collectivizing a few years later, restoring rights at the start of the reform era and now trying to obliterate small landholders.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/world/asia/chinas-great-uprooting-moving-250-million-into-cities.html?_r=0

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Mon Jun 17, 2013, 10:48 AM

1. It's a gargantuan disaster in the making

Shittiest idea ever.

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Response to jsr (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 17, 2013, 11:40 AM

5. The Great Leap Forward was a pretty shitty idea in my opinion

 

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Mon Jun 17, 2013, 11:17 AM

2. I once had an interesting conversation with a chinese communist.

I asked, why the People's Party wouldn't simply switch to democracy. What could possibly be the downside to that for the chinese people.
He delivered the argument that there's a huge gap of education within the chinese society. The intellectual argument against democracy is that huge parts of the population have so little education that they simply can't be trusted to make an informed democratic vote.

Maybe the enforced urbanization of China is their first step to turn their country from a Third-world-industry (with pollution and low-quality-products) to a First-World-industry (focused on knowledge/education and quality).

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 17, 2013, 11:19 AM

3. "they simply can't be trusted to make an informed democratic vote" = EXACTLY what Republicans claim

 

about Obama voters.

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 17, 2013, 11:33 AM

4. It's a valid point, though.

An informed voter knows enough to let professionals handle medical decisions instead of letting politicians squeeze themselves between a woman and her doctor. Or actually listening to them when they say that the "fetus-feels-pain-after-20-weeks"-number is made up.

An informed voter knows that even the largest of pipelines will never provide tens of thousands of permanent jobs. (What would those people do all day?)

An informed voter knows that something is off when the weather keeps getting crazier year by year for a full decade.

An informed voter knows that something is fishy when 8 years of trickle-down-economics turn into a recession.

An informed voter would accept the fact that the bad guy with a gun used to be a good guy with a gun.

An informed voter would accept the fact that not everyone to the left of Rush Limbaugh is a communist.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 17, 2013, 04:33 PM

6. Only if true. I submit that, in both countries, the "uneducated" still can figure out who has their

 

interests at heart.

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #6)

Mon Jun 17, 2013, 04:39 PM

7. If that's true, then why do repukes ever get more than 1% of the vote?

I'm not sure it's a given that "the uneducated" can figure out who has their interests at hart, though certainly some do, many others do not.

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Mon Jun 17, 2013, 04:44 PM

8. About 20 or so years ago, the Chinese leadership wanted the communal farms abolished.

 

The move was opposed by a significant minority of the workers on the farms and by a minority of the party cadres. Legions of party functionaries were went into the contryside to convince all to fall in line with the new directives and by various means, they did. It was not totally popular.
Some cadres realized that they could make a lot of money by speeding the process along and buying choice land, which they did.

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Mon Jun 17, 2013, 05:16 PM

9. In the US, farmers are down to 1.9% of population - China has a long way to go

 

1900 - 41%
1930 - 21.5%
1945 - 16%
1970 - 4%
2002 - 1.9%

In 25 years 3 of 4 farmers were moved off the land. (Well actually they retired, sold out, etc. and weren't replaced.)

http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/259572/eib3_1_.pdf
The 20th Century Transformation of U.S. Agriculture and Farm Policy

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