Tuesday, July 26, 2011

“China will continue to overindulge”

(revised 9/21/2011)

I’ve been researching into the new Chinese Circular Economy Laws for a possible topic to write for a student note in my law review. I came across a blog post written by “Dan” for the Harris & Moure PLLC, criticizing the new Circular Economy Law. The author pointed out, rightly, a western approach would be to write clear standards into the law and impose significant penalties.

“Both of these are missing from the CEPL.”

But that’s the Chinese way. Chinese Environmental Protection Laws are principle driven. It is inherently cultural. I admit it’s Achilles’ Heel is the implementation of these laws at China’s provincial level – no clear guidance usually means confusion, which exposes the process of enforcement to corruption. But as a new law, it is a good starting point. The best hope is the inception ideas to be worked out to shift the consuming base, improving efficiency of energy use in the process, and eventually contain the loop within a closed entropic environment. The central planners perhaps anticipated this and enacted the laws as such to test the waters. They are cautious.

In his blog, “Dan” for the Harris & Moure PLLC, argued that China perhaps will continue to overindulge in their material consumption. I agree in part. China is undergoing a great transformation. Many of its citizens, mostly urban, are experiencing disposable income for the first time in generations. They look to the developed world for ways to spend their money. Buying cars and big screen TVs are natural for them and yes, in this sense they will continue to overindulge. But with the Chinese central government pushing the Circular Economy propaganda as hard as they can, with a principle driven new law, I’d say there is hope yet.

I wouldn’t say “China will continue to overindulge” just yet. Let’s hope they find a way to improve those aggressive laws and give the rest of the world an innovation challenge. If China can really get this right, it will push everyone else and advance the market place to become a circular economy. I’ve always been one for high hopes.

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