Moon shots

China is doing moon shots. Yes, that’s plural. When I say “moon shots” I mean big, multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing investments. China has at least four going now: one is building a network of ultramodern airports; another is building a web of high-speed trains connecting major cities; a third is in bioscience…; and, finally, Beijing just announced that it was providing $15 billion in seed money for the country’s leading auto and battery companies to create an electric car industry…

Not to worry. America today also has its own multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing moon shot: fixing Afghanistan

That is Thomas Friedman. h/t Andrew Sullivan.

2 thoughts on “Moon shots

  1. I think this says more about “young” vs. “old” countries (in terms of years since industrialization / lass epochal economic shift) than it does about authoritarian vs. democratic systems. China is more capable of making these investments not because it is authoritarian (though that may help) but because they are less burdened by an older, sicker population of workers to whom the government already has commitments, and less burdened by the accoutrements of empire. Maybe that sort of flexibility helps explain why one nation has rarely stayed on top for that long — demonstrated by China here, and (if you’ll excuse simple historical analogies) when the US back when we overtook the British Empire.

  2. Let’s see, the first two of those are things that the US already has, in our airports and the interstate highway system. The third thing we’ve already been the world leader for like, 40 years and counting. On the final item, we did just spend something like $50 billion keeping GM afloat so that they can produce the Volt that nobody wants. So, how is China better than the US again?

    Thomas Friedman really needs to get over his embarrassing China fetish.