Monday, December 02, 2013

2123 Facing Fashion

I read an interesting article recently on how the Chinese are handling their incredibly bad pollution. Unfortunately not so well. But they are facing up to it.  

In case you've been on another planet, China's two decades of runaway economic development and lack of restraint from any sort of pollution laws has created a horrible air quality crisis. Used to be Chinese millions got around on bicycles, but since the growth of their middle class more than 120 million vehicles are now cramming their roads and belching smog. 

Worse, just about all their energy needs come from dirty coal. China burns as much coal as the entire rest of the world. The coal cartel controls the coal committees too so goodbye breathable air. It's the perfect example of a government who pushes growth and capitalism that has no restraints. Without those two sides balancing each other even a simple freedom like taking a breath is compromised. 

But in a country where basic freedoms are still at issue it's hard for an environmental movement to take hold. So the only thing left is entrepreneurialism. The only freedom the government actually supports.

Enter the solution to Chinese pollution. Fashion. Yep, in order to breathe, millions of people are buying facemasks. And the companies that make them are making a killing. There's been a boom in fashion forward facemasks. Cause, you know, who wants to look like a surgeon. 

Some of the masks come with counterfeit designer logos, (why should China's counterfeit industry suffer) and some come with animal prints --- a choking panda perhaps. 

It creates some interesting social dynamics. Now when someone says your fashionable facemask is breathtaking, you can be rude and say no, it's for breathtaking.

And that's how China is facing the desolation of smog.   

America, ya gotta love it. 

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