Al fin points an article by City Journal about flaws in China's success story. Yes, there are huge environmental challenges and yes there are a lot of people still below western standards of middle class. However, the extremely poor have mostly been raised to just poor.
I do not agree that china is not raising the standards of most of its populace.
Jeffrey Sachs (Author ofThe End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time) as well as various organizations such as the IMF and worldbank list china as being successful in raising people out of poverty.
People in the urban areas are wealthier and china is shifting more people into the cities.
China has started a $300 billion investment fund. This will be used to buy whole industries to continue to fuel china's growth. I predict that this fund will be successful and by 2010 it will be 500 billinon and by 2015 it will be a trillion dollar fund (or multiple funds totaling that amount.) China will have the best advisors in the world (Goldman, Solomans, Morgan Stanley and others helping them to run these funds)
China is spending to make a cleaner environment. China is spending on wind power. and cleaner coal
China has a rising middle class
Not all of china's transportation plans are bad and certainly more should be done.
But China is invested in public transportation and the chinese people are buying electric bicycles
India and Vietnam are also rising and will be successful in the 21st century.