Is it better to have disposable cities or disposable armies fighting one war after another as in the United States? What do I mean? I mean to say that if we are going to spend money so people have jobs, rebuilding cities may be a better choice than waging wars as the United States has done in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. While China keeps spending money rebuilding cities and keeping people working, the US keeps spending more money inventing new ways to kill people with weapons that were once only read about in science fiction novels.


“Qiu Baoxing [vice-minister of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development] said during an industry forum that Chinese buildings can only stand for between 25 and 30 years. In contrast, the average life expectancy of a building in Britain is 132 years and they last around 74 years in the United States.” (Qian Yanfeng, “‘Most homes’ to be demolished in 20 years,” China Daily, August 7, 2010)


Let’s take a tour of a third-tier Chinese city, Shijiazhuang, “Stone House Village” (pop. ten million), capital of Hebei, the province that surrounds Beijing like the letter C. I choose this city after being invited there by a young woman I befriended recently in Beijing. The circumstances of our meeting were peculiar and quickly endeared me to her. I was making my way down an unfamiliar lane in the popular Nanluoguxiang bar area to kill time before…

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2 responses to “”

  1. Good point, Lloyd. We live in a culture of waste, which takes different forms around the world. The US is able to offload its military waste and destruction in other countries. China is also offloading its variety of waste increasingly abroad – in Africa.

    1. From what I have read, China is indirectly responsible for a lot of waste in Australia too.

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