2011 August 27 Saturday
Chinese Middle Class Oppose Polluters

Incomes in some areas of China are getting high enough to spawn popular anger against pollution. The Chinese government shows wisdom in moving quickly to placate the middle class.

DALIAN, China — Chinese authorities’ swift decision to close and move an urban chemical factory after weekend street protests underscores the ruling Communist Party’s fear of alienating the increasingly outspoken middle class.

The Chinese Communist Party had better start planning how to cut back on all the air pollution. As living standards rise the air quality will be seen as unacceptable by an increasing portion of the urban workforce in China.

What I'm wondering: Will the Chinese middle class develop concerns about the rest of the world. For example, will the Chinese middle class start to show any opposition to factory farms in Somalia and other parts of Africa which produce agricultural products for China from land taken from local production? I'm guessing the development of concern for non-Chinese is still a long way off at best.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 August 27 11:24 PM  China Pollution

Mthson said at August 28, 2011 9:22 AM:

Japan never developed some trademark features of western liberalism like importing poor people from abroad. I'd expect Asian countries to continue to be rationalists on some issues like that which plague the West.

Abelard Lindsey said at August 29, 2011 9:32 AM:

Japan went through this in the early 70's when their pollution was really bad.

Gin said at August 29, 2011 4:03 PM:

Well, yeah. It's always been the middle class that has always brought about the great changes in this world. Most of the great thinkers and revolutionaries have come from the middle class.

That's why the parasite politicians, capitalists and religious ministers always try to destroy it.

bbartlog said at August 30, 2011 11:28 AM:

The Chinese will at least want to keep their African holdings clean enough that the food produced there is not polluted. Not that that is going to result in them getting organic certification any time soon, but I would expect them to oppose the operation of factories that spew heavy metals, PCBs or the like.

REN said at September 1, 2011 7:37 PM:

When China's population demographics invert, they will need labor to support their oldsters. By then they should have enough know-how sucked out of the West. As well, they should be able to build a support infrastructure overseas. China has shown a willingness to send people to Africa to supervise factories and resource extraction. I suspect moves into South America may antagonize the U.S. too much, so China will focus on Asia and Africa.

Beyond deomgraphics, the big issues are shoring up markets, getting a blue water navy, and having access to oil. Their string of Pearls strategy and learning how to manage an aircraft carrier suggest they want to hold markets.

Rich countries tend to not pollute. That is something that never seems to cross wacky environmentalists pointy heads. The richer a country, the less likely they are to eat the bark off of trees, and convert the rest of the tree into charcoal. The metaphor is that the Chinese will husband their resouces better as they climb the wealth curve.

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