Remember the huge, corrupt, rapacious banks that were deemed too big to fail despite the spectacular damage they wrought during the last market crash? That drama may have been just a dress rehearsal for something much bigger, which is now lurching under the weight of exponential growth and colossal corruption: China. And just as we were told in 2008 that it was essential the banks survived, so we are now being told the same about China. This concern stems from no particular fondness for the Chinese – any more than our support of Middle Eastern sheiks, whose kingdoms sat on top of our oil, belied affection for Arabs. It is because American economic well-being is entwined with China’s stability, which is now threatened by the side-effects of unrestrained growth and a mind-boggling corruption that has brought huge disparities in wealth to a country that still mouths the platitudes of socialist solidarity. As a net energy exporter – and a net exporter of oil for the first time since 1949 – America is no longer dependent on energy imports, despite what the drilling zealots insist. Now we are dependent on Chinese money and manufacturing, and once again our foreign policies are dictated by our domestic addictions. China has become the Walmart of the world, promising cheap goods while hollowing out our communities and the local economies that sustain them. I wish no ill to the Chinese, but we have got to redefine the good life in terms other than never-ending growth and more cheap stuff.