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You’ve got the data, Mr. Kust, and Beijing’s got nothing but obvious propaganda!

Did you see my comment, around a week ago, about how the ‘lying flat’ phenomenon of China’s youth has evolved to be known as ‘let it rot’? Somewhere around 22% of China’s youth (according to the Wall Street Journal’s article) are dropping out, with many throwing parties to celebrate their decision to ‘let it rot’. To me, this is the most ominous signal of all that China is headed for a long, hard economic stretch.

We’ve seen this scenario before, with the rotting and eventual implosion of the Soviet Union. All through the seventies and eighties, the top dogs in the USSR spouted propaganda about how wonderful and constantly improving life was in their Glorious State. Meanwhile, the alcoholism rate among Soviet males kept soaring - that was their version of ‘let it rot’. It did not end well for their economy.

I remember reading an article in Wired magazine, around twenty years ago, about how business was actually conducted in China. Virtually no one trusted the government, so a Chinese citizen looking to get ahead in life turned to his ‘clan’. There are, as I remember, around twenty major clans who had effectively divided up the business realms amongst themselves. If your clan happened to be the one with the unofficial business ‘leadership’ in Shanghai, or Malaysia, or wherever, then you’d pledge your allegiance to your clan and they would take care of you - so long as you were loyal to the clan’s interests and leaders! It all works along the lines of a Mafia, with plenty of bribes, kickbacks, and graft. You’re kept safe so long as you adhere to your clan’s wishes. This is not a utopia that will inspire youth’s dreams and idealism - the options of an oppressive and corrupt government or a Mafia-like business world. What a choice; no wonder the young want to drop out.

They have a tolerable quality of life, with an apartment and adequate food, but they have little to look forward to and little personal freedom within the ‘system’. It’s very hard to *quantify* the yearning for freedom, the ache for an inspiring world, and the excitement of working toward your dreams, so it’s hard to get *facts* about this. But it’s still *reality*, and China is going to be kicked hard by it!

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