Built to Fail: Is This System Destined to Take Over the Earth?

Nearly every month brings news of an infrastructure failure, dramatic or mundane. In August a new $300 million eight-lane suspension bridge in Harbin collapsed, sending four trucks tumbling and leaving three dead. __ Bloomberg

This lack of quality materials and workmanship can be evident just from a casual walk through the urban expanses of China.

A couple of years ago I found myself lured in by an absolutely massive, grandiose, basilica-like building on the far outskirts of Shanghai’s Hongqiao district. It was the centerpiece of a Western-style luxury housing complex that was built to resemble something from ancient Rome.

But on approach it became clear that much of it was condemned. One of the doorways was boarded up, the floors above the lobby were off limits, and entire wings were closed off. There were deep cracks spreading out over the exterior walls like the delta of a major river, and large chunks of plaster were succumbing to gravity and falling to the debris piles on the ground below. The place was literally descending into ruins.

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China is often touted as the nation most likely to conquer the world and replace the US as the global hegemon. In reality, China has difficulty constructing buildings, bridges, and tunnels that can last more than a short fraction of their presumed lifespans.

Buildings in China are quickly built and then torn down. Buildings are considered “old” when they are 10 years old — sometimes even less. The main reason for this rapid construction cycle is the quality of materials and construction used to create the buildings. This lower standard started in the 1940s when the Communist Party took over and there was an overwhelming demand for new housing. Homes had to be built as quickly as possible. However, the use of lower quality materials and the accelerated building cycle continued long after that demand was met.

With the lower-quality materials, buildings will literally start falling apart after only a few years. Workers also do not get the advanced training they need to create quality construction. __ http://pridedevelopmentconstruction.net/construction/east-chinas-construction-differs/

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A perverse set of government-spawned incentives drives this dysfunctional system of shoddy construction and rapid decay. There are no sectors of Chinese manufacturing or construction that escape these incentives to hastily overbuild inferior infrastructure — even if it is just going to collapse within 5 or 10 years.

Building crews are followed close-on by demolition crews in an endless cycle of build – demolish – build again – demolish again . . . that boosts GDP figures and feeds a corrupt crony system of insiders, who are currently trying their best to channel funds overseas.

Just seven years after the hotel opened, the building is falling apart and the balconies of many rooms have tall weeds growing on them. __ Financial Times

The problem is particularly bad in building and highway construction. But similar sets of poor practises also prevail in the wind power industry, high voltage power transmission, the manufacturing of high performance turbine engines, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacture, food production, and virtually all other areas of Chinese commerce and industry. Everything is corrupt, shoddy, tainted and toxic — and destined to rapidly decay under conditions of substandard maintenance.

… I estimated that the place had to have been at least 30 or 40 years old. I was shocked when a security guard mentioned that it was built in 2004, just ten years before my visit.

“Buildings often look to me as if they were built in the 1950s, but in fact are built just 10 or 12 years ago,” says Austin Williams, echoing this sentiment. “The finishes are peeling, the metal is rusting, the rainwater pipes are leaking, the windows don’t close properly, the cement is flaking… But this is not due to 50 years of wear and tear. It’s due to inadequate specification, application, and maintenance.” __ http://www.citymetric.com/skylines/half-houses-will-be-demolished-within-20-years-disposable-cities-china-1470

These Shoddy Methods are Being Exported by the Chinese to Other Nations and Continents

Besides shoddy bulding materials and inferior construction methods, maintenance on new construction can be almost non-existent. This is bad enough in China, but when the Chinese construct buildings and systems in places such as Africa, Latin America, or Central Asia, things began falling apart even more quickly.

Often after a decade (or even less) the Chinese projects are falling apart. ___ When China Builds in Africa and the World

Africa, Latin America, Central Asia, and other parts of the world are learning to their chagrin that entanglements with Chinese infrastructure-builders can entail unwelcome complications and disappointment.

China Wants to Build Nuclear Reactors in the Third World

Several nations of Africa now want to host nuclear power plants. The fact that most such host nations cannot field the talent to operate and maintain such complex and potentially dangerous systems of machinery does not phase nations such as China, which seek to profit from such construction and the political influence that it will facilitate.

Once China builds and begins operation of such plants, the systems are likely to be turned over to the host nations for operation and maintenance, so that Chinese technicians can move on to construct more nuclear power plants in other third world locations. When nuclear reactors fail — as these third world reactors inevitably will — they become a problem for everyone in the vicinity, for a significant period of time.

Observe Chinese attitudes toward construction and maintenance, and decide whether you would like to retire within several hundred miles of a Chinese-built nuclear reactor in the developing or emerging world — where attitudes toward maintenance are much worse than even China’s (or Russia’s).

Is this the system that will take over the world? Perhaps, if dysgenic idiocracy is allowed to take over the parts of the world that are currently driving disruptive innovations in advanced science & technology. If Europe and the Anglosphere fall to their own dysgenic policies of promiscuous immigration and dysgenic idiocracy, there will be nothing to prevent such systems of shoddy overbuild and rapid decay from oozing out to cover landscapes and seafloors around the world.

More:

The Four Great Bubbles of China

A Primer on China’s Bubble Economy

Keep in mind that much of China’s household savings is tied up in apartments that will not last long enough for most Chinese to cash in for retirement — or to pass any value to their children. The Chinese people are being stripped of their life savings by these throw-away investments that are built to fail.

A $50 Trillion New Grid for Wind & Solar? Make no mistake. China wants the rest of the world to pay it to build massive infrastructures of railways, power grids, nuclear generation, and more. How do you think that will work out for the rest of world, as opposed to China?

By 2050, the country hopes to lead efforts to build a $50 trillion global wind and solar power grid that would completely change how the world is powered.

It should be easier to convince the world to let you build their grand new intermittent unreliable power grid if you have already destroyed their old one.

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2 Responses to Built to Fail: Is This System Destined to Take Over the Earth?

  1. Matt Musson says:

    I want to ride on a bullet train built by those guys.

  2. Pingback: Best of the Blogroll – ÆtherCzar

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