Jerry Brown Envies China's Ghost Towns

Maybe Californians should be grateful if all they get is the high-speed rail


Perhaps there will be a boom in demand for post-apocalyptic filming sites.
Credit: Remko Tanis | Foter.com | CC BY-NC-SA

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown has headed over to China to marvel at its artificial growth like it's a real thing and to hope that the state can somehow cash in on the huge economic bubble out there before it bursts (one research firm predicts it will happen later this year – and it will be absolutely devastating to China's middle class in a way that will make America's recession seem like a party by comparison).

The governor said some very Jerry Brown things during his visit, according to the Sacramento Bee:

Gov. Jerry Brown arrived in Beijing on Tuesday evening for his week-long trade mission to China, marveling at the pace of construction under China's one-party rule and suggesting – however wistfully – it is a lesson he could apply in California.

"Boy, you've done a lot of building," the Democratic governor said. "When I get back to California, the bulldozers are going to roll."

He praised the country's high-speed rail, of course, though as the New Yorker exposed in October last year, China's train was built on corruption and has been embroiled in scandals and safety problems that have resulted in tragedy and public outrage. They're also expensive to ride, costing more than plane tickets on some routes.

Brown's also had a very Brown-like response to political conflicts between China and the United States:

"I know there are a lot of politics that go on in Washington, but we're from California and we're not interested in politics," Brown said.

He said the state is only interested in business: "We're a green state, and we like greenbacks."

Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying. The state certainly loves its greenbacks, particularly when it is able to extract them from its residents.

His complete obliviousness to the reality of China's completely artificial economic growth should not be a surprise. (NOTE: In deference to Reason commenter Corning, I will point out I'm referring to its most recent growth and not the nation's entire late 20th century history of economic reform.) He still cannot bring himself to acknowledge the lack of demand for a high-speed train in the middle of the state's agricultural basin. The Chinese government's exponential leap in forcing unneeded infrastructure growth to artificially boost economic numbers is not something Brown is scared of, even though he should be.

In March, 60 Minutes exposed the giant, empty cities and shopping malls China is building every year. Watch below and imagine the consequences of Brown bringing this mentality to California, which is still recovering from the last housing bubble. If nothing else, it should explain why Brown is likely to come back empty-handed: