Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Myth of China’s Ghost Cities

May 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Jeff Nielson, Bullion Bulls Canada

The American media has done a wonderful job of ignoring the growing urban blight of most big cities in the United States. In many of the larger urban populations, the “inner cities” are poverty-filled, crime-filled wastelands – nearly uninhabitable. These ghettos are used to warehouse vast numbers of the U.S.’s rapidly growing minority groups.

While the U.S. media brags about the “favorable demographics” of the U.S.’s growing population (compared to much of Europe and Japan), here is the reality: almost all of the “population growth” in the U.S. is occurring among these same “minorities”.

Not only does the vast majority of this ethnic population live near or below the poverty-line, but this segment of the population suffers from a 50% high school drop-out rate. And these “minority groups” are set to become the majority of the U.S. population some time over the next 20 to 30 years. This occurs at a time when all of the good “blue collar” jobs have disappeared in the U.S., meaning that much of if not most of this segment of the population has no realistic prospect of ever escaping the poverty-trap. Obviously, the U.S.’s inner-city ghettos can only continue to grow, and spread across its cities like a cancer.

Then there are the “ex-urbs”. During the made-in-Wall-Street housing bubble, clusters of “monster homes” mushroomed all around many U.S. urban centers. Too distant to be classified as “suburbs”, they were dubbed “exurbs”. These housing units were built based upon the premises of steadily rising wealth/income levels among middle-class Americans, and permanent, cheap gasoline – to fuel the 100+ mile round-trip daily commutes in their gas-guzzling vehicles.

In other words, these homes were obsolete before many of them were even built. Millions of these housing units will simply have to be bulldozed, to put a dent in the vast oversupply of housing in the U.S. Meanwhile, the infrastructure of American cities crumbles, while cash-strapped local governments would be hard-pressed to come up with 1% of the $100’s of billions urgently needed for repairs/renovations. And as homelessness soars across the U.S., we now see “the world’s only super-power” pock-marked with “tent cities”.

All of this is invisible to the U.S.’s myopic media. What is most peculiar, however, is that their visual deficiencies don’t prevent these same pundits from being able to spot “ghost cities” across the Pacific, in China.

An article which typifies such hypocrisy reported:

These pop-up metropolises include looping miles of highways, vast apartment blocks, sprawling cultural plazas, commercial districts, and shopping centers that are bigger than downtown Reno, Nevada. The only thing missing is people.”

The same article claimed that there are an “estimated 64 million” empty apartments in China. While that number sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, lets accept it as true. Now let’s look at the facts.

The vast majority of China’s 1.2 billion inhabitants are still rural “peasants”. As China assumes the role of the world’s manufacturing hub, it is seeking to “urbanize” (eventually) somewhere around ¾ of a billion people. This would be nearly equivalent to building (and populating) new cities for the entire populations of Europe and North America, combined. It is nothing less than the largest planned migration in human history.

Obviously there are only two scenarios to such growth. You can bring the people (first) to the sites of these new cities, and then try to build the cities around them; or you can build the cities first – and then bring the migrants to live in them. As for the “64 million empty apartments”, that’s enough housing for no more than a quarter of these migrants.

More articles from Bullion Bulls Canada….

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