Last year, I considered penning a RANT on how the MASSIVE, overarching impact of population growth “trumps” dozens of traditional measures of economic growth and political stability. However, I never wrote it because something about the topic eluded me; i.e., something that would “bring the point home.”
But now that I am visiting China, my mind is “free and clear.” In other words, I needed to see its incredible population density to fully understand how the price of food – and most items we “NEED VERSUS WANT” – are unlikely to decline over time; and conversely, should explode higher in the coming decades.
For the past ten-plus years, any time someone I knew returned from China, amongst the first things they noted were the incredible amount of construction cranes – both building new cities and expanding old ones. And I can tell you authoritatively they weren’t exaggerating; as from Hong Kong – where we initially landed – to the continent’s largest city, Guangzhou (formerly Canton) – where we are currently staying – I’ve seen thousands of cranes putting up new buildings; mostly residential, but commercial as well.
Some such building relates to speculation; and of course, some to government infrastructure investment into what some would deem “ghost cities.” However, from what I can see, the great majority relates simply to exploding population growth; and this, in a nation where strict population controls have been in place for decades.
Taking a train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou (approximately 100 miles), I’d estimate no more than 2% of the landscape was devoid of such cranes; as literally, giant cities are being erected by the dozen. Honestly, it reminds me of Las Vegas 20 years ago – but on a much larger scale; when homebuilders started erecting condos and town homes from the Strip to the foothills; in some directions, actually reaching them. To wit, my mother lived in Vegas for five years in the early 1990s; and while her condo was near the cities’ outer limits back then, today it has been passed by miles of new developments. And oh yeah, there are no houses in China; but instead, high rise apartment buildings. Frankly, there are so many people, that houses are not feasible accommodations.
Some might say food prices are “cheap” in China; at least, compared to America. However, wages are also much lower; so what is relatively cheap in the U.S. is absolutely expensive in China. And with the world’s population growing so rapidly; let alone in similarly-sized India – which has no population controls – it’s hard to make the case that life’s necessities have any chance of falling over time. Not to mention, all of the world’s currencies are currently fiat-based; i.e. part of HISTORY’S LARGEST PONZI SCHEME – which, by definition, MUST grow larger to survive.
Some will also say new technologies have been invented to reduce global food and gasoline prices. However, empirical evidence suggests otherwise; and conversely, just as many points can be made as to why such factors are immaterial in the face of EXPLOSIVE global population growth and MONEY PRINTING.
Everyone is free to their own opinion, of course. However, on the topic of prices for the necessities of life, it is nearly impossible to argue that the trend is inexorably higher; and most importantly, that “POPULATION GROWTH SUPERCEDES ALL.”