Monday, 26 January 2009

National society is a fragile human construct

After reading this I am forced to consider some of the challenges facing China as it begins to feel the impact of the global economic slowdown.

What will happen in China if it can't keep up the same level of economic growth and suddenly millions of people find themselves without jobs?

I've posted previously that there is concern about weakening growth rates (recently revised down from 8.9% per annum to 7%), but the demographic shift which has taken place over recent decades has been followed by a seismic geographic shift towards mass urbanisation and I can't see every single newly unemployed worker in the big cities making the reverse migration back to the countryside where their families originated. For starters, many will have broken ties and laid down new roots.

What happens if intra-Chinese ethnic rivalry breaks out, as has sporadically occurred in areas like Tibet or the far western regions?

With tens of million people on the move at any one time massive turmoil can be caused by a simple thing like a train delay... if you think your commute into London is difficult, think again!

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