Monday, August 19, 2013

The Kuznets Curve and China

ASI provides a bit of historical context and points out that the cost of pollution (though to be fair, it's at least in part because of the horribly inefficient allocation of resources and poor governance in China) has had its benefits (ASI):

It's a standard trope these days that China is so alarmingly polluted that it's killing off the population in droves. And that might actually be true in part as well. But all that filth is the side effect of people not being killed off in larger droves by the absence of food, shelter or industry.

[...] China is broadly right about one thing: its environmental problems do have historical parallels. With the exception of Chongqing, the largest municipality, most Chinese cities are no more polluted than Japan’s were in 1960 (see chart 1). Excluding spikes like that in Beijing this year, air quality is improving at about the same rate as Japan’s did in the 1970s.

See more about the Kuznets curve (Wikipedia).

No comments: