2009 December 28 Monday
Ordos II: China's Empty City

The American real estate bubble is big because we have a large economy with a large and foolish government capable of creating such a bubble. But while China's economy is still smaller than that of the United States the Chinese planners can create distortions on a level that far exceeds anything that we have in the US. Check out Ordos II in Inner Mongolia, a massive empty planned city:

I worry when I come across stories of massive misallocations of capital in China because a big downturn in the Chinese economy could set off a much bigger world recession. How can China sustain its economic growth if the market is that distorted?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 December 28 05:45 PM  China

James Bowery said at December 28, 2009 9:04 PM:

There will be blood.

Mthson said at December 28, 2009 9:05 PM:

I can see some benefits to such long-term thinking. In California, the population is expected to grow from 35 million in 2000 to 60 million in 20501, with most of that increase being added to already-clogged population centers. It is of course a trade off, but it seems like a stronger push to create new population centers could be rational.

A.Prole said at December 29, 2009 6:33 AM:

Look, most of China's big centrally planned projects turned out OK in the end.
I remember at least a decade ago the Chinese built a whole 'motor city' (ie a 'from scratch' centrally planned new town just to serve a brand new mega car factory)as part of its master plan.'It will never work' scoffed westerners, 'massive waste of money' etec etc.Well in the end it DID work and China's now the world's biggest car market.
At least China has *ambition* something sadly lacking in the west.

A.Prole said at December 29, 2009 6:45 AM:

As a Briton, watching thar video clip I was impressed by the fact that the general standard of architecture, building and design in China's new cities at least, is far and away better than anything I see in Brtitain.
In fact most of London is a 100+ year old decaying, scruffy, dirty Victorian slum with congested streets.And Britain seems totally incapable of actually building vitally needed new housing, hence Britain's insane housing prices and perpetual accomodation shortage (around 5 million - of a 60 million population are on a waiting-list for social housing, the waiting time is not measured in years but DECADES).
One wonders which is the real third world country.

miles said at December 29, 2009 9:13 AM:

Hey, maybe we could help China populate that new city. We have plenty of Katrina refugees and constantly digruntled, whiny, complaining liberals here in America who clamor for free health care and a government that will give them free housing. Perhaps China would take them in? LOL
They could have em' all: the supporters of Mumia Abdul Whateverthehellhisnameis, the Duke 88 #and Crystal Gayle Magnum#, Jesse and Al, those New Jersey Schoolteachers who taught their first-graders to sing Hosanas to Barack Hussien Obama #mmm...mmm...mmm#, Gloria Steinem, La Raza, the Acorn-army, Elenor Holmes Norton, Paul Ehrlich, Phil Jones, AlGore, the Southern Poverty Law Center. I'd even be willing to part with the neo-cons #wiping a sole, lonely tear from my eye right now#.

Marky Mark said at December 29, 2009 2:47 PM:

China may well have misdirected resources into excessive building of office blocks/commercial buildings.

However, China has also ramped up construction of motorway networks, high speed and commercial rail, metro systems (in several cities), university campuses, power stations, ports/airports, factories.

If and when the property bubble bursts, China will be left with massively improved infrastructure and an increasingly educated urban population. These things aren't going to go away and provide China with a spring-board for a quick bounce out of recession based on genuine economic activity and not printing money and borrowing to consume.

Clarium said at December 29, 2009 6:04 PM:

Why is Paul Ehrlich on your list of shame? I'd admire Paul Ehrlich for encouraging population control.

Nobody said at December 29, 2009 7:36 PM:

"There will be blood."

Of Tibetans, muslims in Xinjiang and plenty of whites, to be sure...

Albatross said at April 27, 2010 5:51 AM:

Pretty whiny and complainy, Miles.

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