To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What Are Authoritarian Governments Good For? Negative Examples

Fascinating article in today's Wall Street Journal about China's efforts to clean up the air in time for the Olympics. They're not making much progress despite some pretty drastic measures. That has some environmentalists worried. Why? Well ...
Scientists from around the world are studying the antipollution efforts to see what, if anything, succeeds -- and what the costs are. These conclusions could affect policies in countries like India whose fast-growing economies are following similar patterns of industrialization and car ownership. Though countries including the U.S. and Japan have used similar tactics to curb pollution, scientists say the speed and sheer extent of China's changes make it an ideal laboratory to measure what works.

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China's authoritarian government can compel companies and citizens to comply with regulations more easily than other countries can. The government's antipollution measures have disrupted workday commutes for hundreds of thousands of residents, and caused tens of thousands of workers to go on forced holiday, with reduced pay.

So if Beijing can't succeed -- even in the short term -- the current experiment could bode ill for the ability of other industrializing countries to curb pollution. "If China can't control pollution, a country like India can't either," says Shaw Chen Liu, director of the Research Center for Environmental Changes at Academia Sinica, a Taiwanese institute that helped China lay out plans to improve air quality for the Games.
Good to know that climate change types are taking their cues from Communist China. Thank goodness, the message that's coming out of China is that it's methods don't work.

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