800px-AralShip 1

This is really Fallows' beat, but this New York Times article about China being really, really, really polluted sure is something. Manufactured Landscapes, a film I've recommended previously, is full of really eye-opening images.

This is, perhaps, the achilles heel of Chinese authoritarianism. The Soviet Union was full of just astounding things, like the incredible shrinking Aral Sea pictured above. China, by contrast, used to be too poor for anything truly awful to happen on the environmental front, but capitalism has set the table for nightmare scenarios. Democracies have, obviously, our share of environmental problems, but this really is one of those situations where it's the worst form of government except for all the others.

Public domain photo by Wikipedian Staeker

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