Friday, 27 June 2014
Chairman Mao and the great property bubble.
Will the Chinese property bubble burst before London's? That is the question exercising the minds of developers both here and in the Far East. Of course, just like their British counterparts, Chinese estate agents are convinced that they are on a roll that will last into the foreseeable future, but this breed probably have no more credibility there than they have here. It seems almost beyond belief that any of us in the west can have ever thought that the Chinese Communist Party was the instrument of genuine social change or that the thoughts of Chairman Mao had anything much to offer to the Britain of the sixties. The truth is that although UK Maoist groups were tiny Chinese propaganda was received with interest and even enthusiasm by some on the revolutionary left. Why, even a few anarchists had to admit to a grudging respect for all of that Maoist activism. It was all part of the sort of "pick and mix" anti-establishment thinking of the time where Marxism, astrology, free-love and progressive rock were all spoken of in the same breath. It would be less than honest if I gave the impression that I was immune to this kind of thinking myself and I was indeed the owner of one of the good chairman's Little Red Books at one stage. At that time visiting Chinese ships would be covered with huge portraits of Mao and banners proclaiming the inevitable victory of the workers struggle. I happened to be loading a barge in one of the Royal Group of docks when one such Chinese ship arrived and being suitably impressed toddled off round to avail myself of anything that was going. I climbed the gangway and asked the first seaman that I came across if I could have a Little Red Book. Turning to his mate he said what I imagine would have translated as something like, "Go below and get this shit for brains hippy one of those fucking books. It will be worth a few brownie points from that bastard political commissar." Anyway, I departed clutching this beautifully produced little volume that was chock full of useful advice about reaching the masses. I seem to remember that the dockers loading my barge thought that it was all a load of old wank. I wish that I had hung onto it now. Been interesting to check out Mao's take on the housing market.