Friday, November 12, 2010

Chinese Workers Build 15-story Hotel in Just 6 Days


Yahoo! News -- "A construction crew in the south-central Chinese city of Changsha has completed a 15-story hotel in just 6 days. The work crew erected the hotel -- a soundproofed, thermal-insulated structure reportedly built to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake -- with all prefabricated materials. In other words, a crew of off-site factory workers built the sections, and their on-site counterparts arranged them on the foundation for the Ark Hotel project.

Despite the frenetic pace of construction, no workers were injured -- and thanks to the prefab nature of the process, the builders wasted very few construction materials. Above is a time-lapse video that shows the hotel being built from the ground up in less than a week."

HT: My co-author Seyed Mehdian, who asks "Would this have been possible under central planning and communism?"

From Darren in the comments: "I see this as a testament to how well capitalism has worked. Does anyone doubt that the technology to enable such a thing was created through a free market system that rewards innovation? The fact that a totalitarian regime has embraced capitalism at a pace and degree to which no one 10 years ago would have predicted just reinforces the power of free markets."

25 Comments:

At 11/12/2010 8:38 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


HT: My co-author Seyed Mehdian, who asks "Would this have been possible under central planning and communism?"

Yes, since that's what is there right now. Either that, or one would have to admit the government is helping to clean up criticism by offering to kill, maim, or imprison the critics. The only difference is that China (and others) are using the defense of foreign multinationals to whitewash their actions. That said, China is still the same oppressive and currency-manipulating Communist nation.


Secondly, nothing is said about the off-site workers being injured, or the lack of safety that is part and parcel with Chinese manufacturing work.

Unlike the First World counterparts, that building is not likely to stand 10 years, if it stands longer than 1.

 
At 11/12/2010 8:49 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Seyed Mehdian needs to be reminded that China is in fact a communist, fascist, mercantile nation, w/o freedom of speech or assembly. In fact, freedom of expression seems to being going backwards in China.

Indeed, it is the Communist Party that controls the voting shares of even Chinese publicly traded companies.

Maybe there is a wig and gloss lipstick on the old whore-pig, but do not be deceived, Red China is still commie, and is building a sub fleet that can sink our navy (or launch missiles off the coast of California) rather easily.

 
At 11/12/2010 9:52 PM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

I didn't know they had an IKEA in China... ;)

 
At 11/12/2010 10:41 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Sethstorm is correct in pointing out that this story is only remarkable because the system boundaries are narrowly defined.

Chinese history suggests that we Westerners have no concept of how to govern a billion people.

 
At 11/12/2010 11:23 PM, Blogger randian said...

It certainly wouldn't be possible anywhere in the US, the permitting and inspection process would take more than 6 days by itself.

 
At 11/13/2010 1:15 AM, Blogger mike250 said...

China has no "communist" system today. It's Communist Party is that in name only. Hardly anyone that is a member of it, including its leadership, really adheres to Marxist/Maoist ideology anymore. The name is just a keepsake. The "party" and rulership today mainly consists of anti-democratic authoritarians who favor a market economy, which is hardly distinguishable from a right wing fascist government, like say, the Pinochet dictatorship had. Present-day Russia has a similar system.

 
At 11/13/2010 1:27 AM, Blogger mike250 said...

That said, China is still the same oppressive and currency-manipulating Communist nation

The USA is the last country that should be calling out anyone's monetary policies

 
At 11/13/2010 1:37 AM, Blogger mike250 said...

w/o freedom of speech

something that Western governments like to borrow from them on a continuous basis.

 
At 11/13/2010 1:57 AM, Blogger Darren said...

Just reading some of the previous posts, it seems to me like there's a lot of knee-jerk bitterness among people to any story that implies Chinese success. Personally, if this story is accurate (which I have no reason to believe it's not besides maybe the fact it's from Yahoo), I see this as a testament to how well capitalism has worked. Does anyone doubt that the technology to enable such a thing was created through a free market system that rewards innovation? The fact that a totalitarian regime has embraced capitalism at a pace and degree to which no one 10 years ago would have predicted just reinforces the power of free markets.

 
At 11/13/2010 4:38 AM, Blogger Richard said...

Mark,

The link to the Yahoo article is no good. (seems to be a typo)

 
At 11/13/2010 6:49 AM, Blogger Xerographica said...

All thanks to Deng Xiaoping! That guy was amazing. He was fond of saying that it didn't matter if a cat was black or white, as long as it caught mice.

The only way that we might stay ahead of China is by applying that same pragmatism to the public goods debate. It shouldn't matter if an organization is public or private, as long as it efficiently produces "public" goods.

It would be as simple as allowing tax payers to decide which public goods their taxes help fund. The invisible hand would then decide the most efficient division of labor between the public and private sectors.

I've labeled this approach "pragmatarianism".

 
At 11/13/2010 8:28 AM, Blogger mike250 said...

Does anyone doubt that the technology to enable such a thing was created through a free market system that rewards innovation? The fact that a totalitarian regime has embraced capitalism at a pace and degree to which no one 10 years ago would have predicted just reinforces the power of free markets.

most Americans haven’t the faintest notion of what “capitalism” means. Not to mention that it certainly isn't the political system of the US.

 
At 11/13/2010 8:38 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Given my experience with Chinese businesses, I'm skeptical that this building is remotely safe. You can always sacrifice things like safety for time.

Regardless constructing anything off that size in that amount of time is a feat.

The Chinese have 3000 years of authoritarian rule of some sort. Things like "rules and way of doing business" have less meaning in that context. Someone in Beijing says build a 15 story building in six days and the masses get in line to build the thing in six days.

 
At 11/13/2010 8:44 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Thanks Richard, it's fixed now.

 
At 11/13/2010 8:44 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Let's wait and see if that hotel looks like this building next week...

 
At 11/13/2010 11:49 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Darren's remarks give the impression that China is embracing free markets. This is true to limited extent and is a testament to the Chinese people BUT China is a Communist country.

From the CIA World Factbook:

"Political parties and leadership:

Chinese Communist Party or CCP (Hu Jintao); eight registered small parties controlled by CCP."


From The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission:

The Chinese Government is the majority or primary owner of each firm in all of these categories:

INDUSTRIES IDENTIFIED BY THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AS
‘‘STRATEGIC’’ AND ‘‘HEAVYWEIGHT’’ Strategic Industries: Heavyweight Industries:
(1) Armaments (1) Machinery
(2) Power Generation and Distribution (2) Automobiles
(3) Oil and Petrochemicals (3) Information Technology
(4) Telecommunications (4) Construction
(5) Coal (5) Iron, Steel, and Non-Ferrous Metals
(6) Civil Aviation
(7) Shipping

 
At 11/13/2010 11:51 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Juandos, that article was interesting. Especially when Chinese officials were quoted as saying they are taking "appropriate control measures."

Just a guess, but I'm thinking the control measure was to publicly execute the contractor.

Also, the part where building collapses are common inland. Pretty much what I would expect in China. Not necessarily a nation that respects good workmanship...

 
At 11/13/2010 12:32 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/13/2010 12:47 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


The USA is the last country that should be calling out anyone's monetary policies

Except that China should be the first country to be called out on it. The US government won't call on it, but regular citizens harmed by it will.



All thanks to Deng Xiaoping! That guy was amazing. He was fond of saying that it didn't matter if a cat was black or white, as long as it caught mice.

The only thing Deng Xiaoping allowed is the whitewashing of China's actions by offering to take jobs from the West. Then using the oppresion to defend multinationals.

The cat was the Chinese government, and the mice were the dissidents.

 
At 11/13/2010 1:38 PM, Blogger FredZ said...

Sorry economists but this is an excerise in engineering. Assuming it is structurally sound, hats off to the engineers be they communists or capitalists.

I hate to burst your economic utopia but nearly all technology is highly dependant on public funding for it's existance.

 
At 11/13/2010 8:56 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Just a guess, but I'm thinking the control measure was to publicly execute the contractor"...

I would tend to believe that might make a believer out of the rest of them jason...

"Also, the part where building collapses are common inland. Pretty much what I would expect in China"...

Well jason maybe this the lagging indicator of how market forces (demanding some solid for money spent) are slowly taking over from construction companies that at one time had corrupt relationships with local government officials...

I'm just guessing though...

"I hate to burst your economic utopia but nearly all technology is highly dependant on public funding for it's existance"...

Really FredZ, what kind of public funding did Edison, Westinghouse, Rutan, or Wozniak get?

 
At 11/14/2010 4:47 PM, Blogger limitup said...

Any idea of cost per sq ft. ? Dave

 
At 11/15/2010 12:09 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Fire at Shanghai high-rise kills more than 40.
Is that alos an exampleo f the new China? How so?

 
At 11/15/2010 10:17 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

HT: My co-author Seyed Mehdian, who asks "Would this have been possible under central planning and communism?"

Not a chance. Under central planning the government could not deliver the goods. That is why Deng admitted that a freer economy was needed for prosperity.

 
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