Our empty Chinese metropolis awaits its best of times, when its emptiness will be filled by throngs of Chinese migrating off the land into cities in China’s long-delayed industrial revolution. While it waits, it represents an enormous investment of resources producing nothing, hardly unusual when investment is controlled by the State.
In post-capitalist America, its once third largest metropolis sits with its primary industry–auto making–ironically gone to among
other places, China–while over a quarter of its homes are as empty as those in our Chinese Ghost City. It has arrived at its worst of times, with the state of Michigan taking over financial management from its hapless administration: Detroit.
Both places tell the same tale, though from different ends; a tale of political hubris and misjudgment. Our Chinese city sits empty, built ahead of need, while Detroit sits emptying from need aborted by the same force operating in China: government. In each place, government knew best and forced events where it wished with two ghosts resulting.
In Detroit, government forced the automakers into servitude to their unions; thereafter unable to compete, they left for China where labor was affordable. In China, government forced construction of a still empty city just as the world economy sputtered and slowed, crippling the market for autos and other products. Government’s superiority to the market is shown as the fiction that it has always been, one more time.
Detroit is falling apart from vandalism and lack of maintenance. China, its customers’ economies slowing, will be scrambling like the rest of the world; maintaining empty cities will not be high on its list of demands. Those old Greeks who reported that hubris (arrogance) was always followed by nemesis (a bad end) have yet to be proven wrong…
America’s Detroit had a good beginning through American industry and has come to a bad end under a destructive government’s bad management. China’s ghost city has a bad beginning under a destructive government’s bad management. Both recall a poem of Shelley’s ending with this:
“And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of Kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”