The bourgeois bandwagon is steaming along at full speed in China, as, spurred by government efforts to further boost average per-capita living space and private home ownership, residential building construction activity will advance at an estimated 8.8 percent annual pace in real terms through 2009, greatly outperforming other major national construction markets.
The privatization of home ownership has been a dramatic trend in this still nominally “communist” country. As a result of government reform efforts the percentage of homes that are privately owned has climbed from 51 percent in 1994 to 87 percent in 2004. By 2014, privately owned housing will account for over 95 percent of all units, according to a study by the Freedonia Group.
Can the government fend off indefinitely the wishes of a 1.3 billion capitalists increasingly aware of the world around them via the (still restricted) Internet, increased travel, international trade, and the ’08 Beijing Olympics, who will increasingly see individual rights as every bit their due as are property rights?
I think not. Is political change 5, 10, 20 years off? Not more than the last I am positive: surely the authoritarian regimes of North Korea and Cuba will have collapsed by then, and the Middle East will continue to see increased democratization as well. China will not be able to hold out.