Little Bits of Asia

A while back I asked about EU policies toward China. There’s now a section on the Europa server devoted to just that question.

“There will soon be more people living in the city of Bombay than on the continent of Australia. … Bombay is the future of urban civilisation on the planet. God help us.” (p. 3)

“[W]orldwide, a billion more people a year buy tickets to Indian movies than to Hollywood ones. … When every other country’s cinema had fallen before Hollywood, India met Hollywood the Hindu way. It welcomed it, swallowed it whole and regurgitated it. What went in blended with everything that had existed before and came back out with ten new heads.” (p. 321)

“What is a South Asian? Someone who watches Hindi movies. Someone whose being fills up with pleasure when he or she hears, Mere Sapnon ki rani or Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Here is our national language; here is our common song.” (p. 323)

“A wide assortment of cousins and uncles peoples the marriage. One works on an oil rig in Abu Dhabi; another is a property dealer in Bombay who spent six years in Nigeria getting rich off the currency scam in the 190s.” (pp. 430-31)
— From Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta

“[Ms. Zhang] has come to realize what all people who want to change China eventually learn: the current system is at a dead end, but its death is not in sight.” (p. 273)
— From Wild Grass by Ian Johnson

“Anita Jain reported in the Financial Times last week that India has ’10 discount airlines planning to enter the market over the next 18 months.'”
— From Slate

“On July 18th, Shanghai’s first budget airline made its maiden flight from Shanghai?s Hongqiao Airport.”
— From the Economist’s August 2005 Shanghai update

And finally, back on July 9, the perceptive Mark Leonard had a terrific article in the dead-tree edition of the Financial Times on China’s role in global economics and politics. It’s online here.

6 thoughts on “Little Bits of Asia

  1. Last week’s Economist had an article on China and the world economy (no idea whether there’s a URL or if it’s behind a pay wall) that was slightly more insightful than the usual round of Bush good, Chavez bad, rah rah capitalism.
    Their point was that in the 90’s a billion people or so entered the effective 1st world labor market in some sense (China and India), but the amount of world capital did not jump by nearly the same amount, meaning that the relative scarcity of capital vs labor changed drastically, to capital’s favor, and thus the lack of inflation, and stagnation of wages of the last few years.

  2. V interesting point! (And bummer for the working stiffs among us…) Also ties to Tobias’ preceding post.

  3. Fons’ stupid blog appears not to accept comments, so here is the comment I tried (unsuccessfully) to post regarding his article:


    You assume a number of things that I think are false.

    For example you assume that the US china agenda is driven by China and that it has some relevance to attempting to deal with the issues China raises. I see no evidence of that; rather I see China is used as tool to deal with various US issues, often purely partisan issues, with ZERO intellectual effort put into actually asking real questions like what this all means for the US population in 5, 10 and 20 years and what to start doing now to deal with it. Real debate would acknowledge that China won’t go away over the next few years, meaning that, for example the environmental issues it raises (higher oil prices, CO2 emissions) won’t solve themselves; likewise health issues (will AIDS in China explode? will Avian flu break out into the human population); likewise financial issues (what happens if China grows less corrupt, meaning that people other than offland Chinese start to feel comfortable investing there — and sucking money out of the US? what is the long term US plan for its workers — happy talk of a knowledge or biotech economy does not square with crappy schools and intelligent design).

    On the other hand, the European response looks to me far more rational. What do you expect politicians to do? China will rise, it will lead to certain changes, but “debate” about this is like debating about the volcano you know is set to explode in three hours; it’s fine for dorm room bull sessions, but it’s entertainment and a waste of time, it doesn’t count as constructive in any way. Of the four items you listed as issues, three strike me as PRECISELY technical issues that are best solved by civil servants, not politicians interested in riling up emotion; while the immigrant issue is not a specifically Chinese issue, and does seem to be being addressed in European debate, for example in the context of Turkey or Polish plumbers. The fact that you (and I) don’t think the public is choosing the “right” answer after hearing both sides does not mean that the issue is not being debated.

  4. No clue why you could not post your comments at my site, Maynard, others leave comments on a regular bases.
    Two remarks:
    1. I indicate already that the level and content of the US-China debate is not that appealing, partly because the driving forces are domestic issues. Sorry if I have been unclear about that.
    2. Europe is too much ruled by civil servants and there should be more debate about anything including China. I prefer a democratic debate, even if we sometimes think the ‘public’ (whoever that is) is wrong.

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