September 2, 2015
china won't be buying us anytime soon
I know we more discuss free markets rather than finance markets here, but bear with me, as the freedom message rings out loud and clear from this column drawn off Yahoo's finance page by Rick Newman.
It's amateur hour in China
This is the next superpower? You’ve got to be kidding
Investors began to think stocks were close to a peak, so they sold to lock in profits. Not what the government was expecting. The government tried to stem the selloff by enacting stimulus measures, instituting new rules and even preventing some institutional investors from selling. Authoritarianism displaced capitalism.
and just like Pravda when the latest 5 year plan failed:
China’s government has now reverted to the ultimate absurdity: Blaming critics of the markets’ performance for the whole fiasco.
and, noting that our GDP/capita is seven times' China's:
That gap might widen rather than narrow if China keeps trying to force-feed economic growth while American capitalism continues to rely on market forces and innovation.
but enough about China:
Western markets also tolerate short sellers and others who bet against stocks because it serves as a check on the system: When there’s money to be made by stocks going down, it forces better diligence among those betting stocks will go up. Abuses? Sure. But unleashing market forces in every direction—not just the one you want prices to go in—generates confidence that prices will gravitate toward an equilibrium based on reality.
Tolerate? Hell, they get their own TV show....
We’ve got plenty of problems here—including our own variety of political ineptitude—but at least we let supply and demand determine most prices. When China’s leaders let that happen, maybe it will be time to worry.
Let's hope! Senator Sanders certainly thinks we can't choose our own products, or prices... please nominate him!!! Let freedom reign, and rain its benefits widely.
April 28, 2012
A New Down
After promising not to "spike the football" by "trot[ting] out this stuff [bin Laden's killing] as trophies" President Obama's re-election campaign is now spiking the football. Fair enough, I say. But the "game" of leader-of-the-free-world isn't over. China's fear-society now offers "quarterback" Obama a chance to score another touchdown.
"You must see to the bottom of this," the activist said. "Even though I am free, my family ... are still in their grasp. While I was there, they were repeatedly harmed. Now that I'm gone, I can only imagine how it has blown up."
It was easy enough for the President to say "yes" when his defense secretary told him, "We have found Osama bin Laden and planned an operation to capture or kill him. May we proceed?" Let's see if he has the loins to tell China, "Protect your citizens from their government."
December 1, 2011
No, it is not April Fool's Day. Nor was I perusing the magnificent Onion.
No, the WSJ Ed Page actually carries a piece from SEIU
While we debate, Team China rolls on. Our delegation witnessed China's people-oriented development in Chongqing, a city of 32 million in Western China, which is led by an aggressive and popular Communist Party leader--Bo Xilai. A skyline of cranes are building roughly 1.5 million square feet of usable floor space daily--including, our delegation was told, 700,000 units of public housing annually.
There's plenty more and I suggest you read the whole thing. Contra Tom Friedman, Stern does not really even do a "yes but they do murder all but first born babies and occupy Tibet and incarcerate those who would do Falun Gong exercise in the park,,," No, it is really a full-on Walter Duranty cheering session for central planning.
UPDATE: James Pethokoukis did not seem to care for it either...
January 26, 2011
Chump in Chief
Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh brought to light a deep insider insult to Obama and America in general during the recent state dinner for China. Chinese-American pianist Lang Lang closed the program with a solo of "My Motherland," supposedly a simple Chinese song. The problem is, that it is actually a Korean War era anti-American anthem well known to the Chinese populace at large. Nicholas Eberstadt, writing for AEI's "The American" explains fully:
"My Motherland" is not a "Chinese song" in any ordinary meaning of the term. Instead, it is a Mao-era propaganda classic: the theme from "Triangle Hill" (Shangganling), a film in which heroic Chinese forces fight, kill, and eventually beat Americans in pitched battle during the Korean War.
To be fair to the POTUS, The Refugee and nearly every American would have been equally clueless. But assuming the program was pre-published and approved, someone at State should have caught on.
Eberstadt goes on to explain the implication of this incident for the future of Sino-American relations. The Refugee cannot do it justice - you'll just have to read the article for yourself. Very enlightening.
December 2, 2010
Michael Ramirez nails it again.
September 19, 2010
Got to Break Some Eggs to Make an Omelet
Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China, qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history, an expert who had unprecedented access to official Communist Party archives said yesterday.
Forty-five million on four years! That Hitler fellow was an underachiever.
This from an Independent.co.uk review of a new book on "the great leap forward" (they do do PR okay).
[Frank Dikötter's] book, Mao's Great Famine; The Story of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, reveals that while this is a part of history that has been "quite forgotten" in the official memory of the People's Republic of China, there was a "staggering degree of violence" that was, remarkably, carefully catalogued in Public Security Bureau reports, which featured among the provincial archives he studied. In them, he found that the members of the rural farming communities were seen by the Party merely as "digits", or a faceless workforce. For those who committed any acts of disobedience, however minor, the punishments were huge.
Dikötter points out that this almost (45M vs. 55M) the number of people who died in WWII.
Yet capitalism is evil. Walmart* employees have to pay for their own health care. Hat-tip: Instapundit
May 14, 2008
An opinion piece written in the Wall Street Journal by Mark Helprin on Tuesday, May 13 2008 urges Americans to not take our military superiority for granted. He sites a number of statistics regarding China’s rapid GDP growth and its ability to spend significant resources on military hardware in the coming years. His solution is for the United States to roughly quadruple our military capabilities including aircraft carriers, other combat ships and F-22 aircraft. While Mr. Helprin is no doubt more knowledgeable than Your Humble Blogger, this Boulder Refugee feels compelled to disagree with his pining for the launch of a new Cold War. The reasons are numerous.
The Chinese GDP growth rate is unsustainable – While some economists predict that Chinese GDP will equal the US by 2026, John M. Berry of Bloomberg News makes a pretty good case that this is highly unlikely. With China’s current GDP at $1.93 trillion and a growth trend of 11% (9% real, 2% inflation) and the US GDP at $11.73 trillion and a historic growth rate at 5.5% (3.5% real, 2% inflation), it would take 35 years for the math to add up. However, as Berry points out, sustaining 11% average growth over 35 years is almost impossible. At some point, the economy is so large that it is impossible to increase productivity that much. As we learned from the Soviet “experiment,” foreigners trying to keep up with the General Jones’s will go bankrupt.
The world is still MAD – “Mutually Assured Destruction” still defines traditional military clashes between titans. Unlike some crazy mullahs, the Chinese have no death-wish. While the US may still have significant technological superiority, we’re not spoiling for a fight with the Chinese, nor are they interested in a direct military entanglement. Even if one accepts the straight-line projection of military power that Helprin submits, it will be an unimaginably long time before they had such overwhelming force such that we would simply give up without a fight.
We’re not in it alone – As the recent Japanese consideration of starting a nuclear weapons program demonstrates, the Japanese would never allow a Chinese hegemony. They would join the arms race. So, it is not just our GDP that China must eclipse. Tally Japan to our side… and South Korea… and Taiwan… and Australia… and India.
Chinese range of motion – China’s desire for influence seems largely confined to Asia (although this is an opinion from the Refugee’s very limited perspective). Although China could cause trouble in the region and enable rogues around the world, it’s hard to imagine that China would risk a direct confrontation with the US over Thailand or even South Korea. Taiwan maybe, but the Chinese know the price would be huge. (Side note: an Obama administration might change Chinese calculus vis-à-vis Taiwan. They know Obama would never go to war over the ROC.)
Inevitable social change – Chinese society cannot remain unchanged as the economy skyrockets. The Chinese have historically been strong entrepreneurs. As the middle class grows and demands more freedom, the communist government cannot keep the freedom genie in the bottle forever. Once out, it’s out for good. The emergence of a middle class also lessens China’s advantage of cheap, abundant labor.
One must also remember that Mao unified a regionalized China with different languages and customs. A Balkanized China is not an unthinkable scenario. Internal evolution, or even revolution, is a far greater threat to the central government than US military intervention.
Finally, China is an ecological disaster in progress. Those chickens will come home to roost within the next two decades in the form of social discontent and costly clean-up.
Central planning – No government planners can ever keep up with market changes the way a more capitalistic system can. Despite the efforts of our government to implement ever more onerous regulations that hamstring American business, we are still light-years ahead of China. China has figured out how to steal secrets and mass-produce cheap knock-offs, but has yet to prove that it can create even a modicum of innovation.
Does anyone remember MITI, the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry? In the 1980’s, pundits and politicians alike shouted that the US needed such an agency to facilitate similar financial-manufacturing partnerships and long-range planning. Japanese-style 25 year plans were all the rage. (This Refugee even bought into the hype and took a Japanese language class.) Although Japan has some notable successes (e.g., Toyota), This Refugee believes that is more a result of our execution problems (e.g., the auto industry) than the success of MITI. Contrary to projections at the time, the cumbersome Japanese model could not keep up. (Similar argument applies Germany.)
This Refugee won’t dispute that China will become an even more significant power in Asia and maybe even another super power. However, there is no need to panic and quadruple our defense spending now; we would only be creating soon-to-be-obsolete weapons at a time when we are not threatened. Chinese culture is famous for having a patient perspective that encompasses generations while westerners reputedly can’t think past the next news cycle. Ironically, time is on our side. This is one case where we can out-wait them.