I doubt that many Spend Matters readers know how desperate the situation is in China now for millions of people. If you're curious to get a first-hand account, it's worth reading this recent Time Magazine article on China that describes the plight of those who are not making the evening news, including the "hundreds of migrant workers waiting to start the long journey back to their home provinces" every day at a single train station. Summing up the article is simple: "China needs a new economic miracle -- and the trajectory of the global economy may depend on whether one can be conjured up." But prescribing the right solution is not. As Time puts it, "the next miracle may be harder to pull off than the last one." While I'd never bet against the hard Chinese work ethic -- especially compared with the same ethic in other developing countries -- I can't help but wonder if we're watching the limits of centralized planning collapse as quickly as they were built up.
- Jason Busch