Chengdu, Chongqing, Changsha, China’s changing, and there was me on the choo-choo from from Suzhou to Nanjing, drawing into Wuxi station. “Dickensian”, and images of a bygone day in far away Europe, in far away Blighty it has to be said, came to mind. Urbanisation, industrialisation, and even a Rostovian take-off of sorts, it is all there to see, in front of your eyes and then ….. well, a take-off of sorts, but this is China and Chongqing with over thirty million people is not Manchester in the 1820s, and, indeed, Wuxi with some six millions is not Wolverhampton.
In other words, what is happening in China is on a quite different scale to what happened in Britain between 1780 and 1830. Moreover, the take-off went hand-in-hand with the scientific developments that facilitated the change, which was, to some extent, sustainable but even there the Clean Air Acts of 1958 and 1968 were still required on what is, after all, a relatively small island.
Only an idiot can believe that the “Chinese take-off “can be sustainable for much longer and a modicum of thought will lead us to the conclusion that China desperately needs both space to develop and its own technological revolution. It is likely to get neither and its reliance on fossil fuels is already forcing it into a geopolitical “game” that nobody can win. Least of all, the Chinese people, and, as they continue to cough and splutter, their brand of Manchester capitalism already has the man on the street, and in the countryside, mutter ….. “enough is enough”.
How, of course, can it be otherwise on a planet of finite resources? Therefore, while the enclosed film might explain, among other things, why the Chinese and the West are in each others faces in Africa and Central Asia and why Iran is the next stage in the West’s war for geopolitical control over the planet’s resources, the reality is that everyone should be starting to think about sitting around a big round table and sorting this out. Not going to happen, though, is it? Still, considering what is at stake, it won’t do us any harm to watch the film.