Go west, young Chinese!

Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog: Go west, young Chinese!
ARTICLE: “China’s Big Push To Stoke Economy Rattles Rural Tibet: Meatpacking Modernization Threatens Beloved Yaks; New Train Brings Suspicion,” by James T. Areddy, Wall Street Journal, 24 August 2006, p. A1.

I know, I know. I seem to be harping on a theme here. And it’s certainly easy to paint the Chinese as the white man and the Tibetans and other inland peoples as the Indians, but you’re always left with this weird argument that says it’s better to leave populations largely disconnected and largely undeveloped in order to preserve the “purity” of their culture, which to me is a sort of strange, reverse racism–even a proto-fascist sentiment.

I know, I know. It’s an impossible dream to the environmental doom-and-gloomers. I just don’t think you can keep those 2-3 billion in the Gap and the Core’s mini-Gaps off grid from the better life forever, and I have an undying faith in the ingenuity of mankind (Forgive me Father, for I am an optimist).

Plus, I look at the history of economic development and I see that the cleanest states (Yale’s environmental sustainability index, for example) are Core states, while the next dirtiest are the Gap, and the most pollution-creating tend to be those transitioning from Gap to Core (as always–the transition states experience the most change). That tells me that if you want a cleaner planet, you want states to move from Gap to Core. That’s the best way to get a handle on local pollution problems (which decline, historically, everywhere with development) and the best way to force global responses to global pollution issues (which tend to increase with development).

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