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Submitted by Anonymous on
Without any real knowledge about China, the describtion reminds me of some infrastructure projects in the old USSR. I can think of the "white sea channel", who was builded at great expense of ressources (and lives) and the project was an engineering succes - but never a commercial succes, infact it doesn't seem that rentability of the finished project was ever a parameter in the decision process, it seems that the decision makers thought that a channel looked like a good idea; an engineering feat and possibility and then they basically just builded it - because they could. The demand for transportation via the channel, turned out to be near null. and the goverment was left with the expense of maintaining a channel, that had no commercial use. The article also made me think of high speed trains in china - again with limited knowledge about china - it strikes me as odd that they can achive rentability of expensive high speed trains connecting - after all - people whos average wealth level is not very high, while they have great problems with achiveing rentability in high speed train projects connecting, on average, far richer people f.ex. in Europe and Japan. My guess is that, like in the USSR, the (political) decision process is not based on standard commercial parameters like rentability etc. but on quite other parameters, f.ex. a goal of building this and so many square meters of good housing each year; Since they got high speed trains in Japan - "we also need them" etc. And if that's true, the impressive growth figures coming out of china, is not quite comparable to growth figures in other parts of the world, since a part of it, is from turning wealth into practical junk - that either needs continuous maintaining or removal and clean up, some day in the future.