I have argued that the forces intended to govern and regulate the modern city are under assault and, at the very least, compromised. But I have not meant to suggest that the people and institutions invested in said modalities of power and governance have abandoned them. On the one hand, we can and should point to the policy and state violence they employ. On the other, we must notice the way in which the melting of social institutions has been taken advantage of to produce fluid mechanisms and technologies of control.

We should also, however, attend to the fact that they always seek to produce a world for themselves as they would have it. They have sought to maintain the illusion of a world ordered as they would like it to be. They have largely done this by retreating behind gated walls into a world of simulacra. Los Angeles is well known to be a city of walls, where the gated communities of the rich are designed to be inaccessible to the urban poor who live around them. It adds a certain level of irony, then, to the fact that upper-class families from Beijing often prefer to live in Orange County (China). Chinese businessmen who dream of living in a famous Los Angeles suburb can do so without ever setting foot in California. Developers bring their desired community to them, with all the trappings that the desert paradise of greater Los Angeles might conjure in the imaginations of people around the globe. For a long time it has been a trend to stamp Western names on top of preexisting upmarket Chinese apartment complexes and developments. Many in the West, journalists and academics alike, interpreted this fashion in naming as an expression of the increasingly westward-looking aspirations of the Chinese. In order to showcase their loyalty to modernity, the tale goes, the Sino-bourgeois would rename existing complexes with an American place name to showcase a brand of Chinese exceptionalism.1 However, in the early 2000s, the pattern changed.