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It Ain't Easy (Subsisting on Noodles)

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Chinese peasants were up in arms, billions of them, in fact, when earlier this month a nefarious noodle cartel hiked the price of their staple food by four cents, a material increase for these people, who live on about sixty dollars a month.
Today's New York Times reports that things are now getting worse for the peasants still: in an effort to control runaway consumption of raw materials, the government will impose a 5% tax on wooden chopsticks.
It is important to watch China's interior, rural population for a number of reasons.
First, they are nearly all masters of various martial artforms, and known to carry numchucks and bowstaffs beneath their robes for the purpose of launching into beautifully choreographed group combat, often for no clear reason.
Further, there is the fact that many of them also possess magical powers, and can run atop trees or up walls when properly incented, or directed by Ang Lee.
It is also true that they can all do calculus, quickly and accurately, inside of their heads.
But perhaps more important than any of these things, the peasants remain the great variable in China's boundless expansion, and the extent to which the Chinese Government manages to bring them along into this new prosperity will to a great extent determine how far the prosperity goes.
Had but a few million of these numchuck wielding, gravity-defying, math-wizards been on hand at Tienanmen Square, things might have gone very differently indeed...
China Raises Taxes to Curb Use of Energy and Timber [NYT]