Thursday, April 13, 2006

China’s Approach


It’s clear that much of our fate lies in China’s hands. Our debt, future markets, cheap labor, energy consumption, etc. etc. The issues are many and varied, and fascinating to discuss to no end, I think. All in all I’m hopeful about China’s approach to rapid growth and development – they have little choice but to take a decentralized and diversified approach, and from what I have read, and from those that I have talked to that have been working on large-scale, high level development planning there recently, it seems that they (Chinese leaders, a huge generalization, I know) have a strong grasp of the importance of sustainable development – for competitive advantage, general human survival, and for the more normative quality of life reasons.

This article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,,1752851,00.html is yet another interesting take on the situation and highlights the delicate balance they must walk. Two things that jumped out at me – 1) the fact that they’re not falling prey to the “quixotic quest for higher GDP” trap that has not improved quality of life in so many developing countries, and 2) the fact that they have a compelling and responsible vision.

Now, I know the idea of a government supported “vision” will likely raise red flags (pun intended, sorry) with regards to concerns about communism and state-engineered solutions – and that is certainly something that frightens me. In the case of China, it seems to me that those concerns are easing, as transparency increases and markets are opened up.

But regardless, my real point is that creating a vision – while difficult among large groups – can get us out of the mindset that the future is something that we have no control over, that is just pouring down on us, and the best we can hope for is to predict it the best we can, to the realization that we create the future everyday, so we should mindful of creating one we want (this is the essence of Backcasting, which I’m overdue for a “back to basics” post on). As far as creating a detailed vision of a desirable future we all want, well that’s tricky, but at the very least, we should be able to agree on a few principles that ensure that we will have the opportunity to create that future, whatever it may be. Stay going.

2 comments:

Jonathan Hodges said...

George,
Jon Hodges (jr) here

It sound like you like you subscribe to the vision of ms. Meadows. i would like to as well, but damn its hard.

Do you believe then that the world is orderd? I hope so.

You are strinkingly optimisic about China... I'm not at all. I honestly dont see it. China has the wrong vision. They are trying to follow in the steps of the USA...and not learning form our mistakes.

I have been meaning to write since this past thanksgiving. I had no idea you were studying the very topics I enjoy. Love the stay going bit...very sustainable.

Jon

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