20,000 and counting…

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As the death toll rises to 20,000 or more, more focus will inevitably come to the quality of construction in the towns and villages in rural Sichuan. One of the things that the world is being reminded of in this disaster—and the United States, in particular, needs to be reminded of this– is that China is still a very poor country, albeit one getting less poor year by year. Compare the way buildings are designed and built in wealthy (and earth quake prone) Japan, versus how they are built in poor provinces of China. A good piece in the UK’s Guardian gets at some of the anger amidst the grief in a small Sichuan town.