Two things Michael (Looking beyond China): first, what on earth is China's "dependence ratio"? Second, China still institutes five-year plans. The place remains a semi-planned economy. Do you really think – highways to nowhere notwithstanding – that the rulers will not use available resources to achieve the required economic growth? Let's not forget that the Soviet Union (hardly a model of economic efficiency) was able to sustain enormous output for decades. Pity about the Soviet consumer, but a vast amount of natural resources were mobilised for an awfully long time for the purpose of building a powerful industrial base. It beggars belief that the Chinese Communist Party rulers will simply roll over and allow free market forces to produce the usual cyclical outcomes. These people give every impression of playing for keeps. I really don't think they give a continental about Western criticisms of highways to nowhere. After all, the construction of these highways employed a lot people and assisted in (very) long-term infrastructure needs.
– B Miller