Let us imagine a boat with 100 people onboard. It has men and women scattered all over, just about maintaining the delicate balance necessary to sail through choppy waters. Then a few individuals – egged on by the captain and lured by material comfort on the other side – choose to make a move. As the number swells up on one side, the ship starts to rock, jeopardizing its own survival.
At a completely different level, this is what appears to be happening in China today. It is now established that more than 55 percent of the country’s 1.38 billion population lives in urban areas, making it a nation of town and city dwellers. A human migration of that scale in China is expected to have a ripple effect elsewhere as the country comprises 18.72 percent of the total world population with its urban population expected to exceed one billion by 2030.
Concerns are routinely voiced as we live in a far more connected world and we are getting to a stage where a China sneeze can lead to at least some parts of the world catching cold. This flight of human capital from rural areas goes beyond just increasing pressure on urban space. There has indeed been human impact of China’s new urbanization, which will only worsen if not addressed immediately.
It’s the economy stupid!
If China fails in its experiment of building an “urban army” of consumers, at the cost of its rural population, then the world will probably has to pay the price for itEhtesham Shahid