China’s structural problem

China’s structural problem. By David Archibald.

An admiral in the US Navy, preparing for China’s war, said recently the Chinese are not ten feet tall. I agree.

The world’s most eminent geostrategist, Edward Luttwak, recently wrote:

Deluded over the centuries by their great material superiority over the nomads, mountaineers, and jungle dwellers who lived around them, educated Chinese became convinced — and still are — that all foreigners are stupid, naïve, greedy, and easily deceived, and that all it takes to defeat them in war are clever tricks.

Luttwak had coined the term ‘great state autism’ to describe China. China has the mentality of an autistic child. Who sees the world as they want to see it and can’t comprehend how others think.

Let’s go on from talking about feelings to talking about facts.

China has a lot of structural problems that make it a fragile state, a frail state and even potentially a future failed state.

Mao left a time bomb in China’s demographics. Back in 1959 the President of Beijing University had suggested that China adopt population control to keep the country’s population at 600 million. Mao believed that history favoured the big battalions. China had to wait 25 years until Mao died before trying to bring their population growth under control. So their population is now fourteen hundred million.

But what do all those people do? About three hundred million live in the few coastal provinces that make things and trade with the wider world. It will be those three hundred million we will be fighting, not the whole fourteen hundred million.

Another four hundred and twenty-five million are agricultural workers. So your average Chinese agricultural worker only feeds himself and two other people.

Bear in mind that in Western countries about 2% of the population is in agriculture and feeds the other 98%. Recently I visited a farm in Western Australia that produces 40,000 tonnes of wheat per year with three full time staff. So each of those workers feeds about 25,000 other people. That’s productivity, and the potential for a high standard of living.

Almost the entirety of the Chicom rice crop of 145 million tonnes is planted by hand. And a lot of that is in terraces that can’t be mechanised. So the Chicoms have the choice of either keeping a great chunk of their population in poverty, planting grain by hand, or have their grain production fall by a third.

And they don’t produce enough to feed themselves as it is. Last year the Chicoms imported 147 million tonnes of grain and soybeans in order to put meat on the table in the form of chicken and pork. Those imports will end when their war of choice starts, and China will revert to being a nation of involuntary vegetarians. China with a population of 600 million would have a lot more free cash flow, and be a lot more dangerous, than the China we face with near two and a half times that number.

The 300 million we will be fighting have to divert a lot of their effort to make sure the other 1,100 million are fed and clothed, and don’t riot.

More at the link.