Day 5: A Debate Against My Twin

Today my twin and I took a moment to really reflect on how Xizhou has changed since tourism has brought in massive amounts of revenue. Here is a transcript on the debate we had over the positives of leaving a village as it is, and the positives of industrializing that village. Let's welcom my brother Evan, who is going to debate against me (Ethan) to show the conflicting points of view on this topic.

Let it be resolved that industrialization is more beneficial for local villages.

Ethan: Hello, ladies and gentlemen. As the pro team, I firmly believe that industrialization is more beneficial for local villages. The mains reasons for this is that industrialization brings jobs, raises living standards, and provides opportunity. Supporting my claims are myriad past examples of industrialization. For example, in the 1830s, factories replaced agricultural life, and brought widespread benefits for the people (Evan's Thought: You mean to the super-rich). According to the Economist, real wages rose, and life expectancy soon rose after a period of time. Factories paid workers more than farming, however meager their pay was. Factories also brough about a wide surge of growth in real GDP per capita, which means the working class could afford many things they previously could not have had access to. Industrialization also provides more opportunity to be an entrepreneur and start small businesses, especially for a tourist town, like Xizhou. This is due to the fact that industrialization pumps revenue into the local economy, which promotes economic growth. Before industrialization, many of the rural villages, especially in this region, were poor. In fact, Yunnan's GDP still ranks 29th out of China's 31 provinces, although it is growing by 10% each year due to industrialization. (Evan's Thought: Industrialization can be obtained any time. The environment is perishable) It was only until the government gave grants to boost the local economy and welcome tourism that Xizhou was lifted out of the poverty that still plagues many villages, especially in remote places like Yunnan. In conclusion, industrialization is the only way for Yunnan to pull itself onto the stage of the modern world.

Evan: Hello, ladies and gentlemen. As the con team, I firmly disgree that industrialization is more beneficial for local villages. The main reasons for this is harm towards the environment and the mutation of culture. (Ethan's Thought: What good is culture without people there to see it?) For example, Lake Erhai was host to clear waters and picturesque scenery. But since the advent of tourism and many tourism-related industries, such as lakeside hotels, the water level has degraded. Now it is classified as Class III and Class IV, and the worsening conditions meant the government had to shut down many lakeside properties for their harm towards the environment. Culture has also been mutated to suit the needs of tourists: for example, when we visited the tie-dye shops, we were told that the batiks were not really in the spirit of Xizhou. Many of the batiks were actually in the style of the nearby Zhoucheng. I believe it is everyone's responsibility to preserve culture and the environment, so the future generation still has access to a beautiful Xizhou. (Ethan's Thought: Culture is going to change, because the world is changing. Have you never read Fukuyama?)

Ethan: To build on my own points, I would like to say that industrialization should come before tourism, and not the other way around. (Evan's Thought: No, tourism is what gives a place the revenue to industrialize.) Industrialization is one of the drivers of a successful tourism industry. For example, it was only because Yunnan began to industrialize that it became a major tourism destination. Turning a place into a tourist attraction ithout letting a place industrialize first is a mistake: A lot of places have been negatively affected with only tourism as it's breadwinner. Xizhou is progressively industrializing, and that is a good sign for both locals and tourists. Industrialization should not be viewed as a negative: it is only a stage which places go through. In fact, Xizhou's industrialization is helping the tourism industry, as that means more revenue for the government. Industrialization is a good thing, and everyone is benefitting from it. (Evan's Thought: Everyone, except for the environment.):

Evan: To build on my own points, I want to introduce the harms of industrialization. Heavy industries are ruining the local environments. For example, take Liaoning. Liaoning used to be the home to majestic scenery, but turned into a hub for heavy industries, such as textiles, electrical components, and other products. Even though that has led to some benefits towards the people, Liaoning has permanently lost some of its scenery and beauty. (Ethan's Thought: Industrialization is necessary to a country's, and a village's, success. If China did not industrialize it would have been taken over by Bangladesh or something). We have to wait for industry to be a sustainable option, and make sure it can coexist with the existing local culture before we introduce it. We have one chance to preserve Xizhou. We have to take it. (Ethan's Thought: What's more important, those trees or those humans that can think and act and believe?)

No matter which side you are on, whether are an Ethan or an Evan, we can acknowledge that industrialization has its harms and benefits. It is up to Xizhou to decide which path to take. We all hope a bright future for Xizhou!

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask." Over the course of Microcampus, I have experienced the individual freedom that I have been grappling with ever since I have left Shanghai. Who am I? Why am I here? My Microcampus-era posts and thoughts would go to reveal my struggle against who I am, a struggle you will soon face in Microcampus. And now that I am back, I may have but a fragment of my answer.