The East is Going West
Posted July 30, 2008on:
In the West more people are trying to live indigenously: They buy green products, they ride their bikes to work, and their new trend is called city farming. On the other hand, people in the East are dreaming to have big houses and big cars. It’s the battle of the West vs the East and the modernity vs the traditionality.
Buicks are sold more in China than in the United States as the economy is growing remarkably fast. According to The washington Post, since 2000, China started to aggresively promote consumption to balance its export-driven economy and created a list of things that average citizens should be encouraged to buy. And for those of you who have been to Shanghai and seen its magnificent transportation infrastructures you won’t be surprised to know that cars were at the top of the list.
The high demand of cars in China without a doubt is one of the reasons why the oil price is now on the highest level in the history of the world. The high demand of cars in China reflects how the Chinese economy is going strong.
As the economy is rising, Chinese want more things in their lives. The things that they could only dream 20 years ago, the things that people in the West have been enjoying for so long. But it comes with a price. A report suggests that China is now the number one polluter in the world surpassing the United States.
Can we blame China for this? Critics point their fingers at China and blame them for the natural destruction they’re making. But the Chinese people don’t think so. They think it’s their time to enjoy life. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center more than 8 in 10 Chinese think China is heading the right direction.
Some experts believe that it’s not wise to blame China. They think the Chinese government is trying to take its people out of the poverty. The key, they say, is how the advanced countries can transfer the technology needed to move China towards a low-carbon economy.
I think it can be understood how Chinese have been changing their lifestyle so rapidly. Now that they have more money to spend it’s not a big surprise that they’re developing their country like crazy. They were poor some years ago and now that they’re rich, is it wrong that they want to be as happy as people in the West? I’m sure we Indonesians would do the same if we were in their position.
But, something has to be understood too that changing lifestyle means cutting more trees and burning more oil. China is now the second largest oil consumer with 7.9 million barrels of oil everyday. This number is still far behind the 20.7 million barrels of oil consumed by the United States but it’s projected that less than 20 years China will be consuming 21 million barrels of oil a day. And China is not alone, India is following.
And that’s scary because global warming is no longer a myth and to see how the world is moving even greedier in exploiting the earth and all its resources many believe that the end of the world is near.
It’s interesting to know how many people in the East believe that being happy means being West. That it’s about having TVs, cars, and big houses. And it’s interesting to know that while Chinese are proud of their big and modern buildings the European and American tourists in China just want to see their historic attractions.
Picture is taken from here.