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China recently played host to a number of hot and happening bloggers on the left, offering a kind of guided tour that differs as much as a safari from a zoo. Virginia Postrel gives us a hint as to why it’s more of a lure for influential American audiences than China’s big expo:
Compared to the much-derided commercialism of U.S. world’s fairs, the Shanghai exposition actually suffers from a paucity of consumer pleasures, instead emphasizing national pavilions. Segregated on the less-popular western side of the Huangpu, even the corporate pavilions tend toward state-directed infrastructure. Here the Expo betrays another reason Americans gave up on world’s fairs. Their vision of progress started to seem both socially obnoxious and empirically false.