14 October 2009

China equals the old school

China is really beginning to remind me of late 19th century America. Fossil hunting was a big deal at that time here. It's become sort of a museum hunter thing, in part because it's harder to conduct digs here and in part because we have fewer native talents in sciences anyway to spare a few to go out and dig things up. At least the really old things like fossils rather than anthropological or geological research digs. But fossils are just so much more fun to find for society than looking at temperature variations recorded in sediment deposits. They're like jigsaw puzzles distorted by tens of millions of years.

Anyway, there's also the savings rates and philanthropic efforts of its state run industries, which aren't that different in some respects from the monopolies of Carnegie or Rockefeller. The money for state public works or the purchases of American debt is still basically coming from (some) deferred wages of workers at the bottom of the food chain. But it's doing a fair amount of amazing things instead, like setting up research institutions or colleges and investing in human capital development (just as Carnegie did with libraries and education grants and Rockefeller did with research). For a country that has some mighty political flaws for individuals, I'm beginning to find it looks an awful in its habits like a country that we over here were once pretty familiar with.
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