This is what "welcome home" means to thousands of Hong Kong residents, many of them rich by Chinese standards.
This is the density that James Howard Kunstler believes is the solution to our environmental problems caused by our retrograde attachment to single-family houses with yards and automobiles that take us where we want to go when we want to go.
Each of these tiny boxes is a human filing cabinet for the Mass Man that Communists of a century ago could only dream about.
Reducing the photos to fit them in this column doesn't do them justice. To see the towering horrors better, click this picture essay in the Daily Mail.
My heart sinks when I look at these. I don't even want to think about what actually living in one of them would be like. These inhabitants, by no means the Hong Kong underclass, probably work in office suites larger than their homes.
A certain brand of twisted futurologist gets an all-over thrill from scenes like this. More! Bigger! Taller! Yeah, baby!
Like all high-rise forests, these can be pretty, even spectacular, in the evening or at night with their pointillist electric colors. Like Manhattan at twilight as you cross the Queensboro Bridge. An abstract painting with people inside.
Inevitably our Western commentariat perceives the problem, if it perceives any, as purely economic. The Daily Mail story says:
Earlier this year the Hong Kong-based Society for Community Organisation (SoCO) highlighted the plight of the city's most under-privileged people, increasing numbers of whom are being forced to live in almost inconceivably small spaces.Note: "huge" population, not overpopulation. Our public intellectuals no longer believe there is such a thing as overpopulation, only "under-privilege." Why are rents "sky-high"? Because that's what happens when there are too many people who want to live in the same space. But for many reasons, most having to do with political correctness, you can no longer talk about population limits. "Persons of color" will be sure you're talking about them. Race killed the population stabilization movement in the '70s, even though eco-disaster-porn king Paul Ehrlich, a coward as well as self-serving scoundrel, explicitly said population stabilization should apply only to white people.
In districts including Sham Shui Po, Yau Tsim Mong, and Kowloon City, families, elderly people and the unemployed are crammed into living quarters that are barely bigger than a toilet cubicle in some cases.
The combination of Hong Kong's huge population and sky-high rents - around HKD$90 (£8) per square foot a month - has led to a housing shortage that is affecting hundreds of thousands of the city's poorest people, SoCo said.
In some sense, those who live on Level 42, Zone 3, of these high-rises are underprivileged, if fresh air, some space you can call your own that isn't purely functional, and a little distance from your neighbors are privileges. But you can bet they pay dearly for their views of other buildings.
Admittedly, their digs are a few notches above the really, uh, underprivileged:
It isn't just loons like Kunstler who've lost the plot. Econo-Man in general sees growth in everything, especially population, as the key to a return to prosperity and a cushioned old age. Libertarians are the worst, most self-styled conservatives next worst. Their only ideas are economic, and those are wrong. The quality of life decreases, not increases, with numbers of people. But quality is not in their vocabulary.
Liberals are deluded about almost everything, but a few at least acknowledge that overpopulation is at the root of a lot of misery. At least, until their "protected class" persons of color start howling.