A Workforce Already Shrinking
The working age population of China is shrinking so quickly that wages are being forced upward, driving many overseas investors to look to other nations to do their offshore manufacturing.
A country needs a fertility rate of 2.1 to replace itself and China’s has fallen to 1.2 — only 1.2 births on average per woman in their lifetime. Add to this a traditional preference for males as future breadwinners who then carry on the family line, and families often chose to abandon or abort any female baby.
… By 2050, it is projected that almost half of the entire population will be 65 years or older, meaning that there will be about 1.14 workers supporting every retiree. __ John Dale Grover in Real Clear World
For this reason and many others, foreign investors have been deserting China in recent years for fairer lands.
China’s Debt Mountain Builds to Extraordinary Dimensions
As China’s exports crater and foreign investors flee the dragonship, Mr. Xi has increasingly turned to debt as the primary driver of Chinese economic growth.
For the past twenty years, China has kept roughly half of the world’s cranes busy turning wheat fields and peasant huts all over China into skyscrapers. For someone like myself, who first visited China in 1979, the transformation is almost miraculous.
The luster begins to fade when you realize that the land was stolen by rapacious Communist officials from poor workers and peasants who had lived in these huts, and farmed these lands, for centuries. It disappears entirely when you understand that many of these new apartment and office buildings are often nearly devoid of tenants. This means that the soft construction loans that were so generously doled out by the Party’s managers of state-owned banks to their Party comrades who run construction companies will never be paid back.
… the country’s debt has been ballooning in recent years. The Institute of International Finance estimates that “China’s total debt surpassed 304 percent of GDP as of May 2017.” Knowing something about Chinese accounting practices, I would guess that even this startling number is a gross underestimate.
Xi Jinping… is so bent on surpassing the United States and achieving his “China Dream” of world hegemony, that he ordered the Chinese economy to double in size in eight years.
… Xi’s blunder has led to a debt bubble so massive that it may turn China’s beautiful new façade of modernity into nothing more than a world-class Potemkin Village. ___ Steven Mosher
Based upon fertility, debt, and real investment, one might say that China’s people are growing old before growing rich. This will not end well for China, nor for those who have hitched their futures onto the Chinese mule.
China’s Healthcare System is Atrocious
For years, the country has been plagued by hospital scams, kickback scandals, unsafe medication, bribery, and substandard vaccines.
… many Chinese living in poverty continue to have no access to healthcare due to high costs. Additionally, public hospitals in China, with the lack of financial support from the Chinese authorities, continue to operate like private hospitals, desperate to improve their earnings. To make his point, Zhang pointed out that doctors at public hospitals have more outpatient clinic appointments than they can handle, in order to make more money off patients.
“These are not typical problems. These are deeper, systemic problems,” said Zhang. __ https://www.theepochtimes.com/a-broken-leg-exposes-a-broken-healthcare-system-in-china_2354778.html
China Embodies Orwell’s 1984 Surveillance Society
China is the world’s biggest market for surveillance tools. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a trade show in Shenzhen City. Technology on display could detect people’s moods with a facial scan, gather information on people’s social networks… the footage of people crossing the streets and going about their day as information popped up next to them gave off an air of George Orwell’s “1984.” __ https://www.theepochtimes.com/chinese-regime-building-orwellian-nightmare_2351383.html
Getting themselves and their families out of China is one of the primary goals for those who are able to escape poverty and build a sizable dragon’s egg. If they can, pregnant Chinese women fly to the US, Australia, or Canada to give birth, giving their families a foothold in the free world. Sending children to college outside China is a second tier strategy. Finally, buying real estate overseas and shipping their families ahead of them, wealthy Chinese spur two strong trends in China: capital flight and human brain drain.
A Poisoned Land With all That Entails
The sad and too common tale of a poisoned village:
The crops began to suffer: untreated effluent in the water, heavy metals in the soil, sulphur dioxide in the air.
Tendrils of vine wind up a bamboo frame and Mrs Yang reaches across to pluck a winter melon, cracking it open and showing me the rotten inside. She’s been farming here all her adult life but she says that in recent years, the crops have been useless.
“Here in this village, many people have cancer. Three people died in the space of as many months. They were all so young. It’s so toxic here,” Mrs Yang says. __ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-33546231
China’s dirty secret and the cost that will be paid to the second and third generations, and beyond.
The title for this article was borrowed from this National Interest piece
As problematic as China’s future may seem, the dragon has more than one leg up on the neighboring bear to the north. Expect China’s dominance over Russia to grow dramatically as push turns to shove turns to stab in the back.