China’s fearsome future: ghost cities

ghost city


Spanning over three decades since its limited market reforms in 1978, China has seen a dramatic rise in GDP growth unprecedented in any scales before. It was still one of the world’s poorest when it decided to open up, with GDP per capita little more than 100 US$; as of today, it is, having defeated other ages-old industrial powers like Japan, Germany, France, and United Kingdom, the world’s second largest economy, with GDP values now gradually threatening those of the United States.

Okay, calm down, Washington, Beijing’s not gonna reclaim your throne that soon.

Since 2012, though, China has already experienced a slowing down, and, apparently, many of the by-products resulting from its overheating growth are now being felt across the whole country. Overproduction, property bubble, and environmental destruction, these are only a handful of negative consequences the country’s over-rapid growth has caused.

And property bubble, in particular, despite the country’s increasingly growing middle-class strata, has become a tremendous headache for the central government themselves. For this reason, the costs being paid are highly painful: ghost cities are mushrooming elsewhere. Imagine scenes of skyscrapers, shopping malls, office towers, and government buildings, and there are barely any persons living inside. They are plain dead concrete structures, with a complete void surrounding everything.

Ghost cities, in short, are merely tips of a huge iceberg, of something deeply going wrong with Chinese economy.


See the full photographs in Business Insider, and be ready to get yourself surprised.


Bonus: you can view GIFs here to see how spectacularly Chinese cities have grown in the last three decades (although some of them end up completely empty), still in Business Insider.

Even more bonus: Chinese developers, indeed, once built a huge metropolis in Angola, one of the country’s closest African oil trading partners, only to find out the whole city was completely uninhabited. See the pictures in the same website here.

Planet Plutocrat



Crony capitalism, as it seems, remains a chronic economic problem for most countries. Despite its ‘capitalist’ title, these plutocrats seemingly operate under business principles which, paradoxically, contradict the essence of capitalism themselves. One obvious feature, as we can see, is their overwhelming control in strategic sectors with required strong political connection with leaders, or other political figures, something The Economist itself labels as ‘rent-seeking sectors’. No wonder, either you are in a developing country, an emerging market, or a city-state, you can always hear names of those who ‘gain complete control in transport, infrastructure, real estate, telecom, and numerous other highly lucrative sectors’, and you know their huge invisible political prowess they can make use anytime to advance their agenda.

Growing from this concern, The Economist has published a list of countries – 23 in total – which they consider to be heavily reliant on this system. Read the full report here.


Bonus: in order to save capitalism itself from crony capitalists, countries, and emerging markets in particular, will need their own Roosevelts to tackle this problem. Here’s another one, still from the same source, that explains how to mitigate their influences.

Hint: here are the 23 countries The Economist released in regard to the percentage of billionaire wealth to these countries’ total GDP values.

crony capitalism