East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Three thoughts on China

1. While China has accepted the reality of climate change more quickly than some nations that should know better (except in Cali, yeh), the sheer size of its population, and their reasonable expectation of improved living standards, means it will be perhaps the key determiner of the global environment's future. Breathable air is essential to improved living standards, of course, and word is that local government, in Beijing for instance, is responsive to the demands for cleanliness made by the emerging middle class. But carbon pollution isn't as immediate an issue, especially in the absence of NGOs and pressure groups to make it so. The investment required for carbon stability would be like building a Three Gorges Dam every year, and even if you only consider financial costs it's difficult to see how they could be met internally.

2. You can buy a hundred copies of "Sunflowers" for eight bucks each if your standards aren't too high. Up through Benjamin's time, manual reproduction of art was seen as forgery, but that's no longer the case. The primary value of the copy is no longer the aesthetics of the original work but that of the labour necessary to imitate it. So don't you think the painter deserves more than 40 cents a work?

3. I don't believe in Orwell's pigs-look-likemen schtick, but reality is increasingly backing it up. So neo-neocons who think Rumsfeld pulls his rhetorical puches should take notes from this guy. Those Iraqi insurgents: they're just un-American motherhaters. Everyone outside your country will think you a fruitcake, but they're not the ones you have to please.


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