This week, a blockbuster movie celebrating speedy cars and the racing life landed atop China’s box office. The Hollywood import Fast and Furious 7 grossed $63 million in one day (as reported by Bloomberg), the most-ever for a single title in that market. Even as the Chinese central government is trying to get the historically risk-averse Chinese people to stop saving so much and spend more of their money on things like movie tickets, to help move the nation from a manufacturing-led economy to one led by the power of the consumer, Beijing is also asking citizens to prepare for an economic slow-down. The Chinese Communist Party also continues to tout a two-year-old austerity campaign for influential elites, hitting many of them with anti-corruption charges that punish any show of material wealth, ill-begotten or not. Still, many Chinese are flouting socialist and Confucian values in favor of fun designer clothes, vacations (and homes) abroad, and yes, fast cars. How much can Chinese consumers afford to spend given the nation’s lack of a social safety net? Moreover, how much consumption can China’s environment handle and is there a magic number that signals China’s people are consuming enough to keep the economy from tanking without simultaneously killing themselves with pollution? What would need to happen to make that possible?—The Editors


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