China is chaos. I’ve been pondering that sentence for a while now, thinking abou this crazy country’s potential to become a world superpower. The longer i am here, the more I am convinced that this scenario is further off than i would have guessed. the plain fact is that it’s too disorganised. they wouldn’t know what to dp with that kind of immense power and responsibility if it were handed to them tomorrow. there is often little rhyme or reason to the way things are done here – at first I thought it was just that i didn’t see the logic, but now i think this is a direct outgrowth of an environment which favours survivalism in a country of one billion people. evidence of this is everywhere. new construction of massive hotels goes up across the street from half built buildings abandoned just 5 or 6 years ago. people obsessively sweep cigarette butts or dust, when around the corner, a giant pile of refuse on the street serves as the local public dump. everyone drives without any regard for law or order through jumbled intersections without traffic lights, yet a half mile away you could take a nap in the middle of the smooth, wide, immaculate, well- lit and completely empty interchange.

it’s all veyr baffling and the only explanation which makes sense is that it makes no sense. which is, in fact, a perfect system for a country where people get by only through incredible resourcefulness and assertiveness. everything is scarce, and if you wait around too long, it’ll be gone. if you rely on someone else to tell you how/when/where/why you’ll be waiting forever. so you just do/take/create as needed. when you think about it, it’s perfectly suited. but it also menas there is no consistency, or unifying cohesiveness. perhaps i am misinterpreting – i’m still a novice here. but i shudder to think about the state of their nuclear arsenal. and you would too if you’d ever tried to cross a street in beijing.

(i know there are some who will point out the u.s. also has wild variations in law and custom from state to state. i would still say there is a pretty strong glue at the federal level which makes it quite different from the wild free-for-all that can exist here at times.)

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