10.17.2007

Predicting China

Five years ago, I had two separate conversations, one with a college
friend of mine and one with the younger brother of one of my best
friends, about China. My college friend was contemplating becoming a
missionary to China, and he predicted that in the grand scheme of
things, the first couple of decades of this century represented a
unique window for this nation's soul: "Before then, the country was
largely closed; by 2020, it'll be too rich to be hungry for the
gospel." The younger brother of one of my best friends was in the
middle of a two-year assignment in Beijing for a large Western
consulting firm. He predicted wide-scale class warfare: "Such
audacious wealth in the midst of so much poverty; something's going to
give."

I can't speak for the former prediction, but the latter has been
covered in the media a lot lately. Here are but two examples, one
from the Economist and one from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

http://economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=9947069

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/world_us/10568992.html

Everybody has their eye on China already, of course, tracking
everything from explosive growth to questionable product quality to
rampant counterfeiting to potentially catastrophic environmental
problems. Let's add two more topics to watch for, and see if these
two predictions I heard earlier this decade come true.

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