The problem's Xi Jinping. He's a power-hungry, ego-fragile idiot. He's fundamentally not *competent*.

The "sewer socialist" party machine under his two predecessors could have carried on economic growth and a prosperous transition indefinitely, but they were hijacked by Emperor Xi.

Will China stumble economically? Depends, fundamentally, on how much damage Xi does before he's ousted, and how quickly he's ousted, and the manner in which he is ousted.

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The problem with those horror stories about the abuse of prisoners, inhuman punishments and state licensed sadism is that they have little to do with the prevailing economic ideology. They much more depend on the prevailing political ideology. N----r Jack was sentenced to death by a jury, doused with turpentine and burned alive in the good old capitalist US of A. The good capitalists, being good capitalists, kept the receipts for the shackles and turpentine. That story of was not peculiar to the USSR. There are countless similar stories from the days of the tsars, and I expect we will see more from modern Russia as the information dribbles out.

On another note, you may be right about China's long term growth prospects in the sense of capitalist metrics. Whether Xi and his successors will be able to continue to manage urbanization and raise living standards is another matter. Capitalists measure economic growth in terms of investment payoffs and opportunities. Such things as improved health, higher literacy, indoor plumbing, increased leisure, potable water, comfortable retirements are irrelevant except insofar as one can make money off of them. Private enterprises can't capitalize an employee's strong bones, but a state can count a citizens strong bones as an asset.

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Re: Going Nowhere Fast

Even if the commercial strip was made denser, there is still the issue of traveling from a suburban residence to a commercial district. If separate houses and distance from noisy traffic are desirable, then there is very little that can change this. Even fleets of autonomous cars on instant demand don't solve the problem. My experience of living next to a cable car line in SF convince me that even Heinlein's rolling roads wouldn't work unless there was a way to make them very quiet. A fleet of buses that traveled from suburb to commercial center that ensured short wait times would perhaps be a good solution, especially if they were quiet and could do pickups in the suburban streets. Crewed vehicles are still needed for the elderly and disabled, however. This all costs money, and so it will never happen in the US except in urban centers. Solutions like mixed zoning are awful, as are building high rises to increase density (it has been tried and generally failed).

IDK what the solution is, although inexpensive, frequent, electric buses with flexible routes that can be requested might be a partial solution. Making commercial centers denser, like old European cities would help, but the US habit of building grid layouts for cities tends to stymie sensible urban layouts suited to foot traffic and public transport.

We've taken the path of car ownership and it is now too late to change city layouts without blowing them up and starting again. [Now that might just provide the needed requirement for a new WPA approach, and damn the "broken windows" fallacy].

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